Smiling Abu Qatada leaves prison

11:29am Tuesday 13th November 2012

© Press Association 2014

Terror suspect Abu Qatada smiled as he was released from jail after winning the latest round in his battle against extradition.

Qatada was driven away from the maximum security prison HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire in a black Volkswagen people carrier.

The heavily-bearded radical cleric, who was sitting in the rear of the vehicle, made no attempt to hide from waiting media cameras and appeared to be smiling.

Judges on Monday approved his appeal against deportation to Jordan to stand trial. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) said it could not be sure that evidence from witnesses who had been tortured would not be included in a retrial in his homeland despite assurances from the Arab kingdom.

Home Secretary Theresa May, who travelled to Jordan earlier this year in a bid to pave the way for Qatada's deportation, has vowed that the Government will continue to fight to "get rid" of him and has said the Home Office will appeal against the Siac's decision.

Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, is expected to return to his home address in London - although he is said to be planning to move with his family. He will be subject to a 16-hour curfew and allowed out between 8am and 4pm, with conditions including wearing an electronic tag, not using the internet and not contacting certain people.

Mrs May told MPs on Monday: "Qatada is a dangerous man, a suspected terrorist, who is accused of serious crime in his home country of Jordan. The British Government has obtained from the Jordanian government assurances not just in relation to the treatment of Qatada himself, but about the quality of the legal processes that would be followed throughout his trial. We will therefore seek leave to appeal the decision."

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper backed plans to appeal against the "extremely serious and worrying judgment", but said Mrs May needed to get Qatada's deportation "back on track".

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said: "The Home Office will be ensuring that we take all the steps necessary to ensure that Qatada does not present a risk to national security." The spokesman confirmed that the Government believes the tribunal ruling was based on the application of the wrong legal test. He said that the issue will be raised in future discussions with the Jordanian authorities.

Qatada later arrived home in London. He made no comment to waiting journalists. A small group of protesters who had gathered outside chanted: "Out, out, out."

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