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
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all