Abu Qatada will remain in Britain for at least another five months while he launches a further appeal against deportation, but he will spend it behind bars, a court ruled yesterday.
A Special Immigration Appeals Commission judge yesterday decided releasing Mr Qatada during heightened security at the Olympic Games would be "exceptionally problematic".
Mr Justice Mitting said: "There will be a very high level of demand in those resources in order to protect the UK during this period.
"As a matter of logical inference, if [he] were to abscond, either resources would have to be diverted to finding him or finding him would have to be accorded a lower priority."
The judge said: "This case has gone on for an unconscionable amount of time and must be brought to a conclusion one way or another."
Lawyers for Mr Qatada confirmed they would take his fight back to Europe if the Special Immigration Appeals Commission rules against him in the autumn. Edward Fitzgerald QC, representing Mr Qatada, told the hearing, which his client did not attend: "There can be no question of deportation being imminent."