May vows to 'get rid' of Qatada
Published 12/11/2012 | 12:32
Home Secretary Theresa May has vowed that the Government will continue to fight to "get rid" of radical cleric and terror suspect Abu Qatada after he won his latest battle to stay in the UK.
Qatada, who has been fighting extradition for more than a decade, will be released from prison after winning an appeal against deportation to Jordan to face trial.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) allowed his appeal and chairman Mr Justice Mitting granted him bail, meaning Qatada will be released from maximum security prison HMP Long Lartin to return to his home address.
He will be subject to a 16-hour curfew and allowed out between 8am and 4pm, with the condition he wears an electronic tag, does not use the internet, and does not contact certain people.
Once described as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, Qatada was convicted of terror charges in Jordan in his absence in 1999.
The Middle East country has given the Home Secretary assurances that no evidence gained through torture will be used against him. But in the ruling, Siac judges said they could not be sure this would be the case.
The Government now plans to appeal, and Mrs May told the Commons: "Qatada is a dangerous man, a suspected terrorist, who is accused of serious crime in his home country of Jordan.
"The British Government has obtained from the Jordanian government 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. We will therefore seek leave to appeal today's decision."
She said she believed Mr Justice Mitting applied the "wrong legal test" in finding in Qatada's favour, adding: "It is deeply unsatisfactory that Abu Qatada has not already been deported to Jordan.
"Successive governments have tried to remove him since December 2001. He has a long-standing association with al Qaida. British courts have found that he 'provides a religious justification for acts of violence and terror'."