02/05/2012 10:47 BST

Abu Qatada Deportation: European Court Of Human Rights To Decide Cleric's Fate

Europe's human rights judges will meet next week to consider whether Jordanian terror suspect Abu Qatada's appeal should be heard by the court's Grand Chamber, officials said today.

A panel of five judges will meet on Wednesday to decide whether the appeal should be heard, but they may not reach their final decision then and, even if they do, they may not announce it until later, a Council of Europe spokesman said.

Qatada's appeal against deportation prompted a row with home secretary Theresa May over whether the three-month appeal deadline from the original decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on 17 January expired on the night of 16 or 17 April.

Instead, they are expected to simply announce whether or not Qatada's appeal against deportation can go ahead.

Repeated failed attempts by UK governments over the last 10 years to deport the radical cleric have cost nearly £1 million in legal fees, figures released this week showed.

Qatada, who is said to have "wide and high-level support" among extremists, was convicted in his absence in Jordan of involvement with terror attacks in 1998 and faces a retrial in his home country.

He also featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the 11 September bombers.