Bin Laden 'Right-Hand Man' Set for Release in Britain

Abu Qatada to face 22-hour curfew in London
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2012 9:14 AM CST
Bin Laden 'Right-Hand Man' Set for Release in Britain
An undated 2005 image made by the British Prison Service shows Abu Qatada.   (AP Photo/ H.M. Prison Service, File)

(Newser) – A radical cleric described as Osama bin Laden's "right-hand man" in Europe is set for immediate release from a British maximum security prison. Abu Qatada will be housebound for 22 hours a day in London, where he'll wear an electronic tag and face stringent rules on phone and Internet use, the Guardian reports. Bail terms allow Qatada full access to his family, though they will prevent him from taking his youngest child to school, notes the Telegraph.

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Controversy has swirled around the case in Britain. The British government wants to deport Qatada to Jordan, where he holds citizenship, NPR notes. But a European court ruled against the move, saying that any trial there would be unfair, as it could be based on evidence provided by witnesses who were tortured. British immigration officials ordered his release following the ruling. UK leaders are still seeking to deport Qatada; David Cameron and other ministers are in talks with the Jordanian government in hopes of obtaining a guarantee of a fair trial. (Read more Abu Qatada stories.)

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