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Abu Qatada To Be Released On Bail After Winning Deportation Battle

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Terror suspect Abu Qatada is to be released on bail after winning his battle against deportation to Jordan.

The radical cleric, who is also known as Mohommed Othoman, won his appeal after the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruled his right to a fair trial in Jordan would be breached because evidence obtained via torture could be used against him.

He is currently being held at high security Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire and is expected to be released on Tuesday.

qatada

May has sought assurances that Abu Qatada's human rights will not be violated and that the radical cleric will receive a fair trial

The Home Office said it "deeply disagrees" with the ruling and will seek leave to appeal. Theresa May told the Commons on Monday that the government would be "seeking the strictest" of bail conditions. The Home Secretary assured the house the government is "doing everything it can to get rid of Abu Qatada."

It is expected the cleric will be subject to a 16-hour curfew and will be allowed out between 8am and 4pm. He will have to wear an electronic tag, is to be barred from using the internet and is forbidden from contacting certain people.

He will be bailed to his home address, but the court earlier heard he and his family were planning to move.

In February, he was released on bail under a far stricter 22-hour-curfew, however the judge said he wanted to subject Qatada to "standard-style" bail conditions and after seven years of detention, did not want to deprive him of his liberty.

long lartin prison

Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire, where Abu Qatada is currently being held

Prior to the decision to grant bail, Abu Qatada's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald QC told the court: "Enough is enough, it has gone on for many many years now.

"There is no prospect of deportation taking place within a reasonable time, in fact there is no prospect at present of deportation at all."

Robin Tam QC, for the Home Office, had opposed the application, saying Qatada posed a risk to national security and a risk of absconding.

"The appellant remains a man that poses an enormous risk to national security," he said.

"The appellant does continue to pose a risk of absconding which Siac should not ignore."

theresa may

The latest ruling is another embarrassment for Theresa May

The ruling in favour of Abu Qatada was made despite Theresa May receiving special assurances from Jordan that evidence gained using torture would not be used against him.

The Home Office said it "deeply disagrees" with the ruling and will seek leave to appeal.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We have obtained assurances not just in relation to the treatment of Qatada himself, but about the quality of the legal processes that would be followed throughout his trial.

"Indeed, today's ruling found that the Jordanian judiciary, like their executive counterparts, are determined to ensure that the appellant will receive, and be seen to receive, a fair retrial'.

"We will therefore seek leave to appeal today's decision."

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:“This is an extremely serious and worrying judgement which completely contradicts Theresa May’s repeated assurances that she had the right legal strategy to get Abu Qatada deported to Jordan.

“According to security experts, the Home Secretary and the courts this is an extremely dangerous man, and we all want him to be deported to stand fair trial abroad as soon as possible and to be held in custody in the meantime.

“Yet it now appears we face the prospect of Abu Qatada walking the streets of London and remaining at liberty in this country instead."

Qatada had claimed that there was a risk that he himself would be tortured or badly treated in Jordan, however this was rejected.

His legal team also maintained that even if he was acquitted at re-trial, he could be kept in prison under Jordanian law if the authorities decided he was "a danger to the people", therefore breaching his right to liberty.

This was also rejected.

May is due to make a statement to the Commons on the ruling later this afternoon.

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