Abu Qatada has been arrested for allegedly breaching his bail conditions, days before a new government bid to overturn his appeal and deport him, the BBC has revealed.
The radical cleric was arrested by UK Border Agency officers on Friday, a day after raids in London by counter-terrorism police. Two homes were searched by officers and a search of a third property was ongoing.
The UK government will go to the Court of Appeal on Monday to overturn an appeal decision to allow Abu Qatada to remain in the country.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK Border Agency arrested a 52-year-old man from north London for alleged breaches of his bail conditions imposed by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC).”
The case would be considered by SIAC at the earliest opportunity, he added.
Qatada’s strict bail conditions include only being allowed out of his house between 08:00 and 16:00, having to wear an electronic tag, and being restricted in who he meets.
No arrests have been made in connection with the counter-terrorism operation.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Searches at a residential address in north-west London, a residential address in west London and a business address in north-west London have been completed.
“A search at a residential address in north-west London is ongoing.”
Qatada was found guilty of terrorism offences in his absence in Jordan, where he faces a retrial for allegedly conspiring to cause explosions targeting Western and Israeli targets before the year 2000.
But following over 10 years of appeals and hundreds of thousands of pounds in tax payer funded legal aid costs, SIAC judges ruled that Jordan had not proved Abu Qatada’s retrial would not include of evidence obtained by torture.
UK Home Secretary Theresa May will challenge this decision in front of three Court of Appeal judges led by Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, on Monday.
Abu Qatada, 52, was granted bail following the decision by the SIAC judges in November last year and released from Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire. Source: BBC.
Theresa May is in the middle of a major fight with the judiciary over what she sees as human rights abuses.
In a key ruling, the head of the immigration courts said measures introduced by Mrs May last summer to stop criminals claiming the “right to family life” were overridden by judges’ previous decisions on such cases at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
But although Qatada’s case has dragged on through the appeal courts for over 10 years, visa overstayers, fee paying international students and people in genuine relationships are removed from the UK, normally within 72 hours of being detained, every day of the week.
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