Abu Qatada arrested and back in jail
Abu Qatada, the extremist preacher, has been arrested and sent back to jail after allegedly breaching his bail conditions by trying to escape from Britain.
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
Last Updated: 11:28PM GMT 10 Nov 2008
Qatada, once described as “Osama bin Laden's right hand man in Europe”, is understood to have been trying to get to the Middle East, possibly Lebanon.
The news was broken on his website by Yasser al-Siri, an Egyptian wanted in his native country for terrorism offences, who was pictured with Qatada in September.
He said Qatada was arrested on Saturday morning and his council home in West London was searched.
Qatada, who was fitted with an electronic tag, has no passport and is only allowed out of his home for two one-hour sessions a day under strict bail conditions.
He has no access to a computer or mobile phone and is not allowed to send documents abroad.
The 47-year-old was released from Long Lartin high security jail in Worcestershire in June after the Government failed to have him deported.
The Appeal Court ruled that Qatada would not get a fair trial in his native Jordan, where he is wanted for terrorism offences, because statements against him may have been extracted by torture.
The UK Border Agency, which deals with deportation cases, applied to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Friday to have Qatada's bail revoked.
He has been sent back to prison pending a hearing on Wednesday.
Qatada – real name Omar Mohammed Othman – arrived in Britain from Jordan in September 1993 using a forged passport and claimed asylum for himself, his wife and children.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission has described him as a “truly dangerous individual” who was “heavily involved, indeed at the centre of terrorist activities associated with al-Qaeda.”
They said he had given religious authority to numerous high profile terrorists across the world, including those behind September 11 attacks.
He has issued a series of influential fatwas [religious rulings] from Britain which support the killing of non-believers and a number of his videos were found in the Hamburg flat of Mohammed Atta, one of the ring-leaders of the September 11 hijackers.
Qatada has been convicted twice in Jordan in his absence for conspiracy to carry out bomb attacks on two hotels in Amman in 1998, and providing finance and advice for a series of bomb attacks in Jordan planned to coincide with the Millennium.