Jordanian Cleric Qatada Wins U.K. Bail After Human Rights Ruling

Jordanian Islamic cleric Abu Qatada, who last month won a European Union court ruling to avoid deportation on terrorism charges, was granted bail by a U.K. court, Britain’s Home Office said.

Qatada, whose real name is Omar Othman, was granted bail today by Judge John Mitting in London and faces a 22-hour curfew when he’s released, the Home Office said today in a statement. The ministry considers Qatada to be a threat to national security and disagrees with the ruling, it said.

“This is a dangerous man who we believe poses a real threat to our security and who has not changed in his views or attitude to the U.K.,” Home Office spokeswoman Melanie Purkis said in a statement. “We have argued for the strictest possible bail conditions.”

Qatada can’t be deported to Jordan because courts there may use evidence gained through torture, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Jan. 17. The ruling blocked a 2009 U.K. decision allowing him to be sent to Jordan for retrial after he was convicted in absentia in 1999 and 2000 for involvement in terrorist plots. The court ruled returning him to Jordan would violate his rights.

Under the terms of the bail, Qatada will not be allowed to access the Internet or have any access to electronic communication devices, the Home Office said. He will also be electronically monitored. Qatada has denied links to al-Qaeda.

A British man was kidnapped and killed in Niger in 2009 by al-Qaeda’s north African network, which had threatened to kill him if the U.K. didn’t release Qatada.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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