The Home Office is furious after judges at a Special Immigration Appeal Commission Tribunal decided to free the radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada from Long Lartin jail in Worcestershire, where he was being detained.
Mr Qatada was described by security services as Osama Bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, and videos of his hate-filled sermons were found in the possession of those who committed the 9/11 atrocities.
He had been incarcerated in a maximum-security prison for six and a half years without trial, the longest period in modern times.
The decision of the Special Immigration Appeal Commission to grant Mr Qatada bail does come with a number of conditions: he will be placed under a 22-hour curfew, meaning that he will only be allowed out of his house for two hours per day. Police and security forces will be aware of his whereabouts at all times.
The Home Office had been attempting to deport the cleric to Jordan, where he faces charges of being the orchestrator of two bomb attacks. However, a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights had determined that any trial he would face in Jordan would be unjust, as evidence obtained against Mr Qatada was obtained via the use of torture. The High Court thus decided that he could not be deported.
The Home Office was adamant that Mr Qatada should remain in custody.
"This is the argument we made in court and we disagree with its decision. This is a dangerous man who we believe poses a real threat to our security and who has not changed in his views or attitude to the UK," said a spokesperson.
The Home Office is considering an appeal against the European Court decision, and is continuing to seek further diplomatic assurances that Mr Qatada would not face trial on the basis of evidence secured by torture.
The judge in the case accepted that although Mr Qatada's detention without trial was unusually long it was required on security grounds and was therefore lawful. However, he expressed concern that continued detention without trial would be unlawful, and pressed the Government to secure an agreement with the Jordanians soon.
"The time will arrive when continuing detention or deprivation of liberty could not be justified," he said.
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