UK

Abu Qatada To Launch New Freedom Bid

10/05/2013 08:40 BST | Updated 09/07/2013 10:12 BST

Radical cleric Abu Qatada will launch a fresh bid for freedom today as he seeks to be released from prison at an immigration tribunal.

The terror suspect, who continues to thwart Government attempts to remove him from Britain, was jailed in Belmarsh Prison in March for alleged bail breaches.

Qatada, who was living at his taxpayer-funded home in London at the time of his arrest, is also being investigated by Scotland Yard over suspected extremist material.

He will request bail at a Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) hearing in London this morning but faces a challenge from the Government to keep him locked up.

abu qatada

Abu Qatada is locked in a battle with Teresa May over his deportation

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We will strongly resist this application to release Qatada on bail. We believe he poses a real risk to national security and should remain behind bars."

Qatada is accused of breaching a bail condition that prohibits him from having mobile telephones switched on in his house while he is present.

The Government has been trying to deport the terror suspect to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999, for nearly eight years.

Immigration judges decided last year that Qatada, also known as Omar Othman, could not be deported over fears that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him in the middle-eastern country.

Last month, the Home Secretary unveiled a new treaty between the UK and Jordan offering fresh guarantees that such torture evidence will not be used.

But sounding a note of caution, Theresa May said the agreement does not mean Qatada will be "on a plane to Jordan within days" as he will still be able to appeal against any fresh decisions to deport him.

The announcement came after the Government suffered yet another blow in its long-running battle to boot the radical cleric out of the country when the Court of Appeal refused it permission to take the fight to the Supreme Court.

Mrs May said the Government would now request permission to appeal directly from the Supreme Court.