Prime Minister 'completely fed up' as terror suspect Abu Qatada walks free from prison

The controversial preacher looked relaxed and happy as he was driven away from Long Lartin high security jail in acute contrast to outrage at both local and national level

The Prime Minister has declared himself “completely fed up” with Abu Qatada as the radical cleric arrived home amid angry protests.

The controversial preacher, 52, looked relaxed and happy as he was driven away from Long Lartin high security jail in acute contrast to outrage at both local and national level.

As Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg vowed “we are absolutely determined to see this man get on a plane and go back to Jordan”, experts warned it could be months, even years before he leaves British soil.

Speaking during a visit to Italy, David Cameron said: “I am completely fed up with the fact that this man is still at large in our country. He has no right to be there, we believe he is a threat to our country.

”We have moved heaven and earth to try to comply with every single dot and comma of every single convention to get him out of our country. It is extremely frustrating and I share the British people's frustration with the situation we find ourselves in.“

Yesterday the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruled that it was not satisfied with assurances that evidence from witnesses who had been tortured would not be included in a retrial in his homeland and granted Qatada’s appeal, stating the Home Secretary was wrong not to revoke a deportation order.

The Government’s response is likely to be two-pronged. Theresa May has already stated that they will appeal on a matter of law. Meanwhile diplomatic efforts will undoubtedly be doubled to seek further assurances from the Jordanians.

Either option is expected to take time with any appeal unlikely before next year. The Home Secretary has three weeks to apply for permission for the matter to go before the Court of Appeal. If a single judge considering written submissions refuses the application, the Home Office can request an oral hearing before three appeal court judges.

A second option will be to make representations to the Jordanians after Siac said a key sticking point was an ambiguity in the country’s code of conduct, which led to the “real risk” that statement statements procured by torture would be admitted in a retrial.

Home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz said that Jordan's King Abdullah II’s visit to the UK next week would offer an opportunity to “try and persuade him to go that little bit further in terms of the way the criminal code of Jordan operates”.

Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, has been fighting deportation to his native Jordan for seven years after being convicted in his absence of involvement in terror attacks. He would face a retrial if returned.

In January judges at the European Court of Human Rights ruled that he could be sent back to Jordan with diplomatic assurances but he could not be deported while ”there remains a real risk that evidence obtained by torture will be used against him“.

Today David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, said the solution lay with the Jordanians.

”What the judge said, what the court said in terms, was that a simple amendment to the Jordanian criminal code so as to remove an ambiguity that is in it at the moment ought to suffice to make deportation possible,“ he told the BBC.

Jordanian government minister Nayef al-Fayez said: ”It is our tentative understanding that there will be an appeal from the British Government and accordingly we will be co-ordinating closely with them to see what are the next steps to be taken.“

Human rights expert Julian Knowles warned there was a long legal route ahead: ”If Abu Qatada is the loser at the end of the domestic phase, he can then go back to the European Court.”

Meanwhile Qatada remains a free man, albeit living under strict bail conditions which will included a 16-hour curfew, the wearing of an electronic tag as well as a ban on using the internet or contacting certain people.

Today he returned home to protesters brandishing banners proclaiming “Get him out!” .

Local Jackie Chaunt, 50, said: “He shouldn't be here. He was supposed to be deported to Jordan. It's a disgrace.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick