Cleric Qatada held in new deportation bid

Radical cleric Abu Qatada was arrested today as the British government prepared to set out its next steps in sending him back to Jordan.

Radical cleric Abu Qatada was arrested today as the British government prepared to set out its next steps in sending him back to Jordan.

Officers from the UK Border Agency arrested the 51-year-old in London this morning, the Home Office said.

The move came as Home Secretary Theresa May prepared to update MPs this afternoon on the steps being taken to deport Qatada, described by a judge as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe.

A Home Office spokesman said: ``UK Border Agency officers have today arrested Abu Qatada and told him that we intend to resume deportation proceedings against him.

“The Home Secretary will make a statement to Parliament later.”

Europe's human rights judges have ruled Qatada cannot be deported to Jordan without assurances that evidence gained through torture will not be used in his upcoming terror trial.

Mrs May will address MPs as the deadline for any appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights passes at midnight.

She is not expected to appeal as the Home Office has been working to secure a deal with the Jordanian government in which it would give guarantees that torture evidence would not be used.

But any move to deport him with these assurances is likely to be challenged in court by Qatada’s legal team.

Qatada's legal team will apply for bail at a hearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in central London this afternoon, the Judicial Communications Office said.

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