Abu Qatada to be released on bail

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The Independent Online

The firebrand preacher once described as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe" will be freed on bail in the next 24 hours, it was confirmed today.

Abu Qatada won his fight against deportation from Britain in April.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty pledged at the time that Qatada would not be released, and said ministers would appeal against the ruling.

Qatada will be required to wear an electronic tag and remain in his home for 22 hours a day, according to papers released by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) today.

The eight-page bail order specifies that Qatada is barred from associating with a range of named people, including Osama bin Laden.

The list also includes bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and Rachid Ramda, who has been convicted in France of masterminding a series of bombings in 1995.

Also named is hate preacher Abu Hamza.

Siac has previously labelled Qatada a "truly dangerous individual".

He has been convicted in his absence in Jordan of involvement with terror attacks in 1998, and of plotting to plant bombs on the Millennium.

The Siac bail order reflects the type of conditions often imposed on terror suspects by the commission, and which are also imposed under control orders by the Home Office.

The 22-hour-a-day curfew is believed to be the toughest yet imposed.

Law Lords have previously said that a curfew of just 18 hours a day was too much.

Qatada will also be banned from using mobile phones, computers and other communications equipment.

Additionally, the terms of the order include a bar on having more than one bank account, and require him to get the Home Secretary's permission to receive any visitor to his home, apart from family members, lawyers, emergency services personnel and children under 10.

Unusually, the document bans Qatada from attending "any mosque".

Similar restrictions on other Muslim terror suspects normally make provision for them to attend faith meetings, such as Friday prayers.

Qatada is also prevented from leading prayers, giving lectures or "providing religious instruction" to anyone except his wife and children.

The convicted terrorist is also banned from publishing any document or making any statement without the Home Secretary's approval.