Abu Qatada to make renewed bid for freedom at bail hearing

Radical cleric will face judges at Special Immigration Appeals Commission

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The Independent Online

The extremist cleric Abu Qatada will make a renewed bid for freedom on Friday at a hearing before immigration judges.

The radical, who has become a thorn in the Government’s side, could be back on the streets by this weekend if the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) agrees to his lawyers’ application for bail.

“We will strongly resist this application to release Qatada on bail. We believe he poses a real risk to national security and should remain behind bars,” a Home office spokesman said.

But Home Secretary Theresa May’s attempts to have him deported to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999, have been repeatedly thwarted.

Two months ago, the Government suffered another embarrassing setback when Court of Appeal judges dismissed Mrs May’s attempt to overturn a Siac decision that Qatada - whose real name is Omar Othman - could not be removed to Jordan as there was a “real risk” evidence obtained under torture would be used against him in a retrial.

Just days earlier the 52-year-old was arrested and returned to Belmarsh Prison for alleged bail breaches.

Qatada, who was living at a secret location with his family before his arrest, is being investigated over suspected extremist material from a range of sources including online, Scotland Yard later revealed.

The Home Office insists that it is working with the Jordanians “ to address the outstanding legal issues preventing deportation”.

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