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May's anger at preacher Qatada bail ruling

Published on 8 February 2012

IT is simply not acceptable that Britain cannot deport a radical Muslim cleric who "poses a serious risk to our national security", the Home Secretary said.

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Theresa May said she disagreed with a senior immigration judge's decision to bail Abu Qatada, which means he will be free and walking his child to school within a week.

"The right place for a terrorist is a prison cell; the right place for a foreign terrorist is a foreign prison cell far away from Britain," Mrs May said.

She said British courts had found Qatada "poses a serious risk to our national security", has a "long-standing association with al Qaeda" and provides "religious justification for acts of violence and terror".

She said the Government was "working very actively" to ensure the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) cannot override the British judicial system.

The ECHR ruled last month Qatada could not receive a fair trial in Jordan as evidence from witnesses obtained under torture might be used against him.

Mrs May said that Qatada's bail conditions, which include a 22-hour curfew and strict conditions over whom he can meet, were among "the most stringent imposed for anybody facing deportation from the UK".

"It simply isn't acceptable that, after guarantees from the Jordanians about his treatment, after British courts have found he is dangerous, after his removal has been approved by the highest courts in our land, we still cannot deport dangerous foreign nationals," she said.

Mrs May said she wanted to be in a position "where we can deport Abu Qatada so he's not in this country when the Olympics come".

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