Abu Qatada could be free within days in speedy bail hearing
Qatada, who is fighting deportation to Jordan, has been granted the hearing because he has already been detained or under effective house arrest for six and a half years, a tribunal ruled. The decision came as it emerged the UK Government is in urgent talks with Jordan to secure further assurances that Qatada can fairly stand trial there, where he faces terrorism charges.
Last week, the European Court of Human Rights said he should not be deported because his right to a fair trial is at risk amid concerns some of the evidence against him was obtained by torture.
Negotiations with Jordan or any possible appeal against the European court ruling are likely to take time, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission heard.
As a result Mr Justice Mitting said the bail case must be heard "within days not weeks” and set a date of Monday February 6
It means, if he grants bail, Qatada, who is currently being held in the high security Long Lartin prison, could be free within a fortnight.
Home Secretary Theresa May vowed to fight the move saying he would be kept behind bars while she considered all legal options to send him back.
His defence team argued his continued detention was unlawful. (...)