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Abu Qatada Deportation: Government Says It Will Resist Any Attempt At Bail For Radical Cleric

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Abu Qatada is wanted in Jordan for his role in a bomb plot
Abu Qatada is wanted in Jordan for his role in a bomb plot

In the wake of the confusion over radical cleric Abu Qatada's deportation status, the government has confirmed it will "vigourously" oppose any attempt to grant the terror suspect bail.

Qatada was set to be deported to Jordan, where he is wanted to answer charges of terrorism, but he appears to have lodged a second appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Confusion lies over the exact time of the three-month deadline for an appeal against deportation, with the special immigration appeals commission (Siac) saying it received an appeal from Qatada's team at 10pm on Tuesday, allegedly before the deadline.

However, home secretary Theresa May contests that the deadline for any appeal passed the day before.

Whether or not his appeal was submitted in time will be judged by the panel of judges in the court's Grand Chamber.

However, due to the now complicated circumstances, Qatada could well be free from prison on bail, possibly within a matter of weeks.

The judge presiding over the case, Mr Justice Mitting, sent Qatada back to prison temporarily to prevent any attempt at illegally leaving the country. However, should it transpire that deportation is "not imminent" in two to three weeks, bail will be considered for the Palestinian-Jordanian cleric.

On Friday, prime minister David Cameron stood behind his home secretary, saying it was "our firm intention to see him deported."

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has heavily criticised May, saying that: "The idea that Abu Qatada could be back on the streets... as a result of the home secretary's decision is shocking."

Cooper added: "The job of the home secretary is to keep the public safe, not take risks with national security. Theresa May... needs to come clean and explain how this fiasco happened and how she is taking responsibility to put it right."

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