Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 16:30 UK

Abu Qatada's bail 'disappointing'

Abu Qatada
Abu Qatada must wear an electronic tag and must not attend a mosque

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says an appeal will be lodged against a ruling preventing the deportation of radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada from the UK.

Ms Smith said she was "disappointed" at the decision to grant him bail.

Abu Qatada, 47, was freed from Long Lartin Prison, in Worcestershire, on Tuesday after winning his fight against deportation to Jordan.

The Palestinian-Jordanian preacher will be subjected to a 22-hour home curfew and tight restrictions on his liberty.

He is allowed out for one hour from 1000 BST and between 1400 and 1500 - but he did not leave his home on Wednesday.

Abu Qatada has been described as Osama Bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe.

The government's priority is to protect public safety and national security and we will take all steps necessary to do so
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

Last month the Court of Appeal blocked his deportation to Jordan, where he has been convicted in his absence of involvement in terror attacks, because evidence gained from torture could be used against him in a future trial.

Ms Smith said: "I am appealing to the House of Lords to reverse the decision that it is not safe to deport [Abu] Qatada and the other Jordanian cases.

"The government's priority is to protect public safety and national security and we will take all steps necessary to do so."

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: "This man should be deported if possible. His presence is offensive.

"Failing deportation, he should be prosecuted.

"This is why, for example, we have called on the government to allow the use of intercept evidence - so they have every weapon possible to prosecute these individuals."

The preacher left Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire at around 2020 BST on Tuesday night.

He was driven out of the prison at speed in a silver Peugeot people-carrier, hidden from view under a blanket on the back seat.

Abu Qatada was once described by a judge as a "truly dangerous individual at the centre of al-Qaeda's activities in the UK".

He is widely assumed to have had a huge radicalising influence on men who went on to commit acts of violence such as Richard Reid, the convicted shoe bomber, Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 ringleader and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the former al-Qaeda leader in Iraq.

Mr Justice Mitting of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) granted Abu Qatada bail on Tuesday with strict conditions.

He must wear an electronic tag and must not attend a mosque or lead prayers or religious instruction.

He must also stay in his west London home for at least 22 hours a day, and cannot attend any kind of meeting. He is also forbidden from using mobile phones, computers or the internet.

Guests banned

Police have special permission to enter and search his home, while he is banned from having guests other than family and solicitors without the home secretary's permission.

Among the people he is banned from meeting in London is al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Others include bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and Rachid Ramda, who has been convicted in France of masterminding a series of bombings in 1995.

Also named is hate preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Abu Qatada became one of the UK's most wanted men in December 2001 when he went on the run, on the eve of government moves to introduce anti-terror laws allowing suspects to be detained without charge or trial.

In October 2002 the authorities tracked him down to a council house in south London and took him to Belmarsh Prison.

He was eventually freed on bail in March 2005, but was made the subject of a control order to limit his movements.

In August that year he was taken back into custody pending the extradition to Jordan.

Profile: Abu Qatada
17 Jun 08 |  UK

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