Abu Qatada, terror suspect released but not deported

Paula Duffy's picture

Abu Qatada is ready to leave an English prison after years of being held without a terror charge, but won't be deported to Jordan where he was convicted in abstentia.

Abu Qatada, 51 has been described as a spiritual adviser to Islamic extremists and a high-level Al Qaeda operative on the continent of Europe. He is ready to be released from prison after a British judge ruled he can no longer be held without charges.

Because the cleric is still considered a threat to the security of British citizens the public is expressing outrage that Abu Qatada will be allowed to operate under limited home confinement, with a monitoring ankle bracelet that is said to be in effect for 22 hours out of 24 each day.

The UK Telegraph reports that those restrictions will be enforced for two years, after which if he is still in Britain, he will be free to live without any impediments to his freedom.

Held for six years, the Jordanian government informed Britain that Abu Qatada was convicted of crimes, which resulted in the jailed cleric fighting attempts to extradite him. He continues to do so.

Although he has been convicted in Jordan, he is expected to face a retrial, according to a former defense lawyer and there is a concern on the part of the European Court of Human Rights that during expected interrogation in Jordan, he will be tortured.

It has resulted in the EU court's decision to rule against extradition.

Until the government of Prime Minister David Cameron thinks it is on solid legal grounds to return him to Jordan, his home confinement ball conditions will remain in effect.

According to CBS News today, Britain's Security Minister James Brokenshire is scheduled to fly to Jordan to seek accommodations if at all possible that will rid the kingdom of a suspected terrorist threat.

Taxpayers will foot the bill for bail conditions and Cameron's government is sensitive to criticism that they are impotent to send the cleric back to Jordan. The Home Secretary Teresa May told media:

“It simply isn’t acceptable that after guarantees from the Jordanians about his treatment, after the British courts have found that he is dangerous, after his removal has been approved by the highest courts in our land, we still cannot deport dangerous foreign nationals.”

British courts have agreed on one thing that was ready to provide new reasons for public discord. Abu Qatada will be barred from using his two hours of freedom a day to accompany his son to school.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, the flag of Jordan

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