09/05/2012 12:46 BST | Updated 09/05/2012 12:52 BST

Abu Qatada Applies For Bail After Deportation Appeal Hearing Rejected

Abu Qatada's lawyers have applied for a bail hearing before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a spokesman for the Judicial Communications Office said on Wednesday.

His deportation is now in the hands of the British courts after the Jordanian terror suspect lost his attempt to make a final appeal to Europe's human rights judges.

The radical cleric's lawyers immediately applied for him to be released on bail as it looked likely that deportation proceedings will still take many months.

However Home Secretary Theresa May had a narrow escape as, while they rejected the case, the panel of five judges also ruled that Qatada's appeal on the night of 17 April was within the court's deadline.

The decision means Mrs May was wrong when she claimed the three-month appeal deadline from the court's original decision on 17 January expired on the night of April 16, but the mistake will have no serious repercussions.

Qatada's legal team lodged his appeal late on the night of April, which the judges ruled was in time.

As is typical, no reasons were given for the panel's refusal to allow the case to be heard by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Lawyers for Qatada, described by a judge as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, also applied to a senior immigration judge at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission for a fresh bail hearing, but no date has yet been set.