Abu Qatada could be bailed as extradition drags on

 

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The Independent Online

Abu Qatada could be freed on bail by the end of the month. The radical cleric's application for bail will be heard by a senior immigration judge on 28 May, the Judicial Communications Office said.

He is being held in a high-security prison while he fights deportation to Jordan to face terror charges. A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We believe Abu Qatada poses a real risk to national security and will continue vigorously to resist any application for him to be bailed."

Abu Qatada's 10-year battle against deportation is in the hands of the British courts after he lost his bid for a final appeal to the European Court of Human Rights earlier this month. His lawyers immediately applied for him to be released on bail, as it looks likely that deportation proceedings will still take months.

The political situation in Jordan has also worsened in recent months, his lawyers say, casting fresh doubt on the UK's ability to deport him.

The hearing will be held at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in London.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, is likely to refuse any application to revoke his deportation order, but it is still likely to be "many months" before he is put on a plane home.

Repeated attempts over the past 10 years to deport the radical cleric have cost nearly £1m in legal fees.