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Radical Cleric Released On Bail In Britain

Abu Qatada will remain under virtual house arrest after being released on bail in Britain.

Abu Qatada will remain under virtual house arrest after being released on bail in Britain.

A radical Muslim cleric allegedly linked with the late Osama bin Laden has been released on bail from a high-security jail in Britain.

Abu Qatada will have to remain in his house for 22 hours a day. He cannot use the Internet, or a phone, nor can he preach or lead prayers at a mosque.

Abu Qatada has been in and out of jail in Britain since 2002 when he was first detained under Britain's anti-terrorism laws.

He has never, however, been charged with a crime in Britain.

A tribunal last week ruled he should be released on bail.

The 51-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian cleric has been described as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe."

Britain says Abu Qatada poses a security threat to the country.

London has tried to deport him to Jordan where Abu Qatada faces terrorism charges stemming from attacks on Western and Israeli targets.

Last month, the European Court of Human Rights, however, blocked such attempts, arguing evidence used against him could be obtained from torture.

Based on that January 17 decision, a British immigration commission ruled Abu Qatada must be released on bail.

Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed, however to overcome such objections and deport Abu Qatada.

Cameron and King Abdullah of Jordan agreed last week to work together to find "an effective solution to this case."

British diplomats are due to travel to Amman this week, hoping to gain assurances that evidence used in any trial against Abu Qatada does not come through torture.

Under a so-called memorandum of understanding, Jordan has already given assurances that Abu Qatada will not suffer "mistreatment."

Abu Qatada first came to the United Kingdom back in 1993.

compiled from agency reports

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