Abu Qatada denied bail over seized 'jihadist files'

'It was the appellant's obligation to understand the conditions of bail and ensure they were adhered to'

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The Independent Online

The extremist cleric Abu Qatada lost his bid for freedom as judges denied him bail.

The radical Islamist, who has become a thorn in the Government’s side, said recently that he would voluntarily return to Jordan if a new law banning the use of evidence procured through torture is passed.

The 52-year-old remains at Belmarsh prison, having breached his bail conditions. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission heard yesterday that jihadist material was found on a USB stick seized at his home.

Handing down his ruling yesterday, Mr Justice Irwin said: “We regard these breaches as serious. It was the appellant’s obligation to understand the conditions of bail and ensure they were adhered to.”

Abu Qatada’s lawyer Daniel Friedman QC told the hearing that his client was a “proud and dignified man” who had been held in custody for too long. Mr Friedman said that Abu Qatada “has been deprived of his liberty more than any other non-convicted person in British history”.

Robin Tam QC, who represents the Home Office, said £5,000 in cash had also found during the search of Abu Qatada’s property – although this was not a breach of his bail conditions. Mr Tam said Siac itself had once described Abu Qatada, also known as Omar Othman, as a “truly dangerous individual” and added there was “no reason to believe that’s no longer true”.

He revealed that the USB stick had been found in Abu Qatada’s older son’s room and contained schoolwork – but also “jihadist files” including references to al-Qa’ida.