Terrorist on the school run: Bin Laden's 'ambassador in Europe' to be free in days...
One of the world’s most dangerous fanatics will be freed from jail within days – with a judge’s permission to do the school run. Notorious hate preacher Abu Qatada is considered such a threat that he will be permitted to roam the streets for only two hours a day.
But Mr Justice Mitting ruled that he must be allowed to walk his youngest child to school under his bail conditions.
It raises the prospect of parents at the school gates bumping into the radical cleric, who was known as Osama Bin Laden’s ambassador in Europe.
Last night critics described the bail ruling as a ‘disgrace’. Former home secretary David Blunkett warned that Qatada was ‘extraordinarily dangerous and we don’t want him on our streets’.
Qatada has spent much of the past decade in a high-security prison and has cost taxpayers more than L1million in benefits, prison costs and legal fees.
Ministers are attempting to deport him to Jordan to stand trial on terror charges, but three weeks ago they were blocked by European human rights judges.
Yesterday Government lawyers argued the fanatic should remain in prison while they continue efforts to remove him and insisted he presented an ‘unusually significant risk to the UK’.
But the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled he should be released on bail, to resume his life with his wife and five children.
Qatada is expected to walk free from Long Lartin high-security prison in Worcestershire on Monday.
Under his bail conditions, he will be forced to wear an electronic tag and comply with a 22-hour curfew within a defined zone around his home address, thought to be in Wembley, north London.
Meetings with anyone other than his immediate family will have to be approved by security officials. If he breaks the conditions, he could be back behind bars within hours.
Officials do not consider it likely that Qatada will take part in the planning of a terrorist attack or other operational activities.
However, it is feared he could use the internet to give justification for attacks overseas or in Britain.
Officials want to prevent this happening by banning him from having a mobile phone or access to the internet, where his sermons could be uploaded on to extremist websites.