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.”

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
people
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?