Abu Qatada investigated over alleged extremist material found at his home


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The Independent Online

Abu Qatada is being investigated over claims he breached bail conditions by accessing or producing extremist material, police revealed today.

The so-called 'hate preacher' was arrested on March 8 for alleged bail breaches, and a hearing over whether he should be granted bail was due to be held today but was delayed.

Police said they had searched the 52-year-old's north London home before he was held, recvering material in a variety of languages and from a range of sources, including online. They said they are now investigating whether the publications were written by Qatada.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne said: “When we searched his house before his arrest that was a police search in relation to investigating some publications, to see if that was anything that reached a criminal threshold...There is an awful lot of media that needs to be looked through.”

Qatada is accused of breaching a bail condition which prohibits him from having mobile telephones switched on in his house while he is present.

He was arrested by UK Border Agency officials and now the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) will decide whether he should be kept in prison.

Counter-terror police are investigating the extremist material and have not yet made any arrests themselves.

Mr Osborne said: “It will be some time before and if there are any.”

Home Secretary Theresa May is currently fighting a judge's decision to allow Qatada, who has been convicted of terror charges in Jordan, to remain in the UK.

SIAC decided in November that Qatada could not lawfully be deported to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999.

The judges ruled there was a danger that evidence from Qatada's former co-defendants, Abu Hawsher and Al-Hamasher, said to have been obtained by torture, could be used against him in a retrial in Jordan.

The Home Office launched an appeal against the decision, and the Court of Appeal is currently considering the case.

Mrs May's legal team submitted in a one-day hearing on March 11 in London that he was a “truly dangerous” individual who escaped deportation through “errors of law”.

But his barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, told the court that there was “concrete and compelling evidence” that Qatada's co-defendants were tortured into providing evidence.