Abu Qatada: Al-Qaida Top Man’s Release
February 14, 2012 by staff
Abu Qatada: Al-Qaida Top Man’s Release, Hate preacher Abu Qatada – who poses a serious risk to Britain’s national security – was released on bail tonight to return to his family.
Once described by a judge as Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, Qatada, 51, was in a van which left the high-security Long Lartin prison in Evesham, Worcestershire, for his London home at about 9.15pm.
He was in the back seat and was seen hiding his face.
At a cost to taxpayers of £10,000 a week, a team of up to 60 police officers and MI5 agents will provide round-the-clock protection as he is released after six-and-a-half years behind bars.
Abu Qatada is banned from taking his youngest child to school, must stay inside his home for 22 hours a day, and cannot talk to anyone who has not been vetted by the security services first.
He is also banned from meeting 27 named individuals, including new Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Downing Street said today that the Government was ‘exploring all the options’ for removing the preacher ‘at the earliest opportunity’.
Qatada – whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman – is facing deportation to stand trial on terror charges in Jordan.
But a judge ruled he should be released after he applied for bail and human rights judges in Europe ruled he could not be deported without assurances that evidence gained through torture would not be used against him.
Fearful about the prospect of a terror suspect being free to do the school run, the Home Office went to court on Friday to obtain an order to ensure his two hours of freedom each day do not coincide with school opening and closing times.
Concerns were raised after the Mail’s revelations last Tuesday when a judge ruled Qatada must be allowed to walk his youngest son to school.
A senior legal source said: ‘There was a hearing on Friday. The court came back and said the Home Office request was fine. Abu Qatada won’t be able to do the school run.’
Despite that victory, ministers are prepared for a fresh public backlash today as details emerge of the huge sums that will be spent protecting the extremist.
Security costs are estimated to be around £500,000 a year on top of the £1million in benefits, prison costs and legal fees the terror sympathiser has drained from the public purse.
A panic alarm has been installed in his house amid fears that the bailed Muslim cleric, his wife and five children could be attacked by vigilante mobs. Plans have also been drafted to move them to a safe house in an emergency.
But police insist they have a ‘duty of care’ to Qatada, who has provided spiritual inspiration to a string of Al Qaeda terrorists including the September 11 hijackers who murdered 3,000 innocent people in 2001.
It has also emerged that the tight restrictions he faces under his bail conditions could be relaxed as soon as April, enabling him to spread his poisonous views in the run up to the Olympics.
Incredibly, even though ministers believe Qatada, 52, poses a serious risk to national security, he could be totally free within two years.
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