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Europe

Radical cleric Abu Qatada back in jail

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Latest update : 2008-12-02

Abu Qatada, the radical cleric once known as Bin Laden's "right-hand man" in Europe, has been ordered back in prison for breaching his bail terms. Released in June under strict terms, Qatada was suspected of attempting to leave Britain.

AFP - A British tribunal ruled Tuesday that radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, should return to jail, after finding he breached his bail terms.
  
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) was told that Qatada, who was on a 22-hour curfew until being arrested last month, had plotted to leave Britain.
  
"For the reasons outlined in the judgment, the Commission revokes bail and directs that Othman be detained under immigration powers," said judge John Mitting after a short hearing.
  
The 47-year-old -- real name Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman -- has been convicted of terrorism charges in Jordan but Britain cannot deport him there due to a court ruling in May which found that he could face mistreatment there.
  
Qatada -- who was labelled Bin Laden's "right-hand man" by a leading Spanish anti-terror judge -- gained refugee status in Britain in 1994 and has been in and out of prison since.
  
He was released most recently in June on a strict form of bail and re-arrested in November, although the exact circumstances around his detention remain secret.
  
Under his bail terms, Qatada was notably banned from attending any mosques, leading prayers, giving lectures, or "providing religious instruction" to anyone except his wife and children.
  
He was also banned from associating with a list of named people, including Bin Laden, as well as the Al-Qaeda leader's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Date created : 2008-12-02

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