Abu Qatada to be banned from doing school run

 

A radical cleric described as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe will be banned from taking his youngest child to school when he is released from prison, sources said today.

Abu Qatada, who will be released from a maximum security prison this week while he fights deportation to Jordan, will not be allowed out of his home during school opening and closing times.

Under the terms of his release, Qatada, who Home Secretary Theresa May has said poses a real threat to the UK's national security, must obey a 22-hour curfew and will be kept in during the school run, sources said.

In a small victory for the Home Secretary, the two hours a day in which Qatada will be allowed outside his London home within a prescribed area will not coincide with school opening and closing times.

It is understood the details were agreed by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac), which ruled that the cleric should be released, on Friday.

Qatada, 51, must also wear an electronic tag, is banned from using the internet and telephone, and any visitors to his home apart from his wife and children must be vetted beforehand by the security services.

The conditions are some of the toughest imposed since the September 11 terror attacks.

Last week, David Cameron and King Abdullah of Jordan agreed on the "importance of finding an effective resolution" to his case.

The Prime Minister told King Abdullah of the "frustrating and difficult" position Britain was in over its efforts to deport the Islamist radical.

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire is also visiting the Jordanian capital, Amman, this week as diplomats try to gain the assurances needed from Jordan before Qatada can be sent home.

The cleric has been held for six-and-a-half years, more than any other detainee in modern immigration history, while fighting deportation.

But he will be released from Long Lartin jail in Evesham, Worcestershire, after applying for bail when human rights judges in Europe ruled he could not be deported without assurances from Jordan that evidence gained through torture would not be used against him.

Under the terms of his release set by Siac, the Home Secretary has just three months to show the Government is making significant progress in securing his deportation or risk Qatada being freed from his bail conditions.

Qatada, also known as Omar Othman, was convicted in his absence in Jordan of involvement with terror attacks in 1998 and has featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the September 11 bombers.

Since 2001, when fears of the domestic terror threat rose in the aftermath of the attacks, he has challenged, and ultimately thwarted, every attempt by the Government to detain and deport him.

Last month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that sending Qatada back to face terror charges without assurances that evidence gained through torture would not be used against him would be a "flagrant denial of justice".

The ruling was the first time that the Strasbourg-based court has found an extradition would be in violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to a fair trial, which is enshrined in UK law under the Human Rights Act.

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Communications Office confirmed that Qatada's bail conditions were agreed without the need for a further hearing.

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Communications Office confirmed that Qatada's bail conditions were agreed without the need for a further hearing.

Downing Street said today that the Government was considering "all the options" for removing Qatada "at the earliest opportunity".

"We will take all measures necessary to protect the public," Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said.

"We are committed to removing him from the country. We want to see him deported and we are looking at all the options for doing that. I'm not going to go into specifics."

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "It is clear the Government has not done all it can to stop Abu Qatada being released from high-security prison today.

"As soon as the European Court judgment was delivered a month ago now, the Government could have appealed the decision and begun urgent negotiations with the Jordanian government.

"Instead the Government did nothing, leaving a judge to decide there was little progress being made in deporting Qatada and that bail was the only option.

"And still the Government have failed to appeal, while activity with the Jordanians seems restricted to belated calls from the PM and a trip to Jordan for James Brokenshire."

She went on: "We are also seriously concerned that, should Qatada's bail conditions be relaxed, within weeks he could be free to do the school run he has been banned from today.

"The Government's scrapping of control orders means that even were Qatada to be given a new Tpim (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures), he would be free to move around during the day, even using the internet and a mobile phone.

"Inaction from this Government could soon be followed by more failure after the Home Secretary's decision to weaken counter- terror powers designed to deal with situations like this.

"In issues of national security, a more urgent and less cavalier approach is needed."

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: "Downing Street can make all the noises it wishes about finding a way of removing Qatada from this country, but ultimately it is impotent and can do nothing.

"David Cameron is hamstrung by the European Court of Human Rights on one side, and his coalition partners on the other.

"He would not dare defy either, so instead we have a man who is a real threat to national security being released from jail.

"It hardly sends a tough message to other preachers of hate or would-be terrorists around the world."

Ayman Odeh, the Jordanian legislative affairs minister, said the country has passed a constitutional amendment to ban the use of evidence obtained through torture and was working with the UK Government to give the ECHR the assurances it needed.

"It mentions very expressly that any evidence obtained from torture or a threat of torture should not be admissible before the courts in Jordan," he told Sky News.

"We are confident that once we have the chance to make this statement through the diplomatic channels... (it) will be taken into consideration."

He went on: "We are now making the necessary arrangements to do such assurances through the British Government. Very soon something will be done for this purpose."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition