Radical preacher Qatada ‘to be bailed in 24 hours’

Abu Qatada, the radical Islamic preacher convicted of terrorist offences in Jordan, is to be released on bail in the UK within the next 24 hours.

The special immigration appeals commission has imposed a strict 22-hour curfew upon Abu Qatada, who has been described as Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe.

A spokeswoman told inthenews.co.uk Qatada would be bailed either today or tomorrow.

Jacqui Smith said last month she was “extremely disappointed” at the initial decision to bail the preacher.

“Public safety is our main priority and we will take all steps necessary to protect the public,” the home secretary said.

“I am not prepared to comment on details of individuals’ contingency plans, but the government’s priority is to protect public safety and national security.

“We will ensure that necessary steps are taken to ensure the safety of the public.”

Qatada is currently in high-security Belmarsh prison where he is awaiting to appeal against his deportation to Jordan.

The Home Office has said it plans to challenge the court of appeal’s decision to allow the preacher to contest the government’s deportation order.

“I am already seeking to appeal the court of appeal’s decision that it is not safe to deport Qatada and we will continue with deportation action with this and the other Jordanian cases,” Ms Smith added.

Qatada has been declared a “truly dangerous individual” and a “key figure” in al-Qaida-related terror activity.

Richard Reid, the failed ‘shoe-bomber’ and Zacarias Moussaoui, both of whom have been jailed for involvement in terrorism, are claimed to have sought religious advice from Qatada at some stage.

Former home secretary David Blunkett once described the cleric as the “most significant extremist preacher in the UK”.