LONDON: Abu Qatada is to be released back onto the streets of Britain after an appeals commission defied the home secretary to revoke the radical cleric’s deportation order – saying that assurances about his treatment in Jordan were insufficient.

In yet another embarrassing twist for the UK government in the decade-long debacle, Theresa May was forced to stand up in the Commons and answer accusations that efforts to remove Qatada from Britain had been undermined by a “catalogue of confusion”.

May said the government “strongly disagrees” with the ruling by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission which resulted in Qatada being granted bail.

The 52-year-old, once described as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, is to be freed from a high-security prison in Worcestershire and rehoused and subjected to strict conditions.

Justice Mitting, the commission’s president, said that after seven years of detention he did not want to deprive Qatada of his liberty, despite arguments from Home Office lawyer Robin Tam QC that the controversial preacher remained an “enormous risk to national security”.

Qatada has been fighting deportation to Jordan, where he was convicted in his absence 13 years ago of involvement in terrorist attacks.

The cleric is now facing a retrial. – The Independent