News / Europe

Britain Releases Radical Cleric on Bail

Abu Qatada arrives back at his residence in London after being freed from prison, November 13, 2012.
Abu Qatada arrives back at his residence in London after being freed from prison, November 13, 2012.
VOA News
British authorities have released radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada from prison on bail, a day after he won his appeal against deportation to Jordan to face terrorism charges.

Qatada was transported Tuesday from a high-security prison in central Britain to his family home in London. A few protesters had gathered near his home, calling for continued efforts to deport him. Qatada, described by British officials as the top European deputy to former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, has been detained in Britain for most of the past decade under Britain's anti-terrorism laws.

Qatada will be allowed to live at home, but he will be under curfew 16 hours a day. He will be allowed to leave his home only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Britain's Home Office says it strongly disagrees with Monday's ruling and will appeal.

Home Secretary Theresa May had ordered his extradition after being given assurances by Jordan that no information obtained through torture would be used against him.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Monday blocked Qatada's extradition order, saying it could not be guaranteed that he would get a fair trial in Jordan.

Jordan convicted Qatada of terrorism charges related to two bomb plots in 1998. He was tried in absentia.

Britain has been trying to deport Qatada since 2001, but its efforts have repeatedly been blocked by the courts. In January, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the deportation because evidence used against him in Jordan may have been obtained using torture.

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