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Abu Qatada, radical Muslim cleric, denied bail by UK judge

Abu Qatada has been in jail or under forms of house arrest for more than seven years, and is fighting deportation to Jordan.

Abu qatada 2012 03 05Enlarge
The UK government says Qatada, long accused of being one of the UK’s most dangerous extremist preachers and a leading Al Qaeda figure in Europe, poses a threat to national security. ( - /AFP/Getty Images)

Abu Qatada has been denied bail by a UK judge, the latest setback in the radical Muslim cleric's fight against deportation to his native Jordan, BBC News reported

Qatada, 51, is accused of being involved in several bomb attacks in Jordan, and was convicted in his absence from the country in 1998, Agence France Presse reported. Spanish and British courts have both described him as "a leading al Qaeda figure in Europe," the Associated Press reported

Judge John Mitting said after a Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) hearing in London that releasing Qatada ahead of the London Olympics would be "exceptionally problematic" during the Games' heightened security, according to AFP. 

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"As a matter of logical inference, if Abu Qatada were to abscond, either resources would have to be diverted to finding him or finding him would have to be accorded a lower priority," Judge Mitting said, AP reported. 

The cleric is currently in custody in a high-security British prison, where he will remain without bail until his deportation hearing in October, according to the AP. 

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Qatada's lawyers have said that if SIAC rules against him, he plans to take his fight against deportation back to Europe, the Daily Record reported.

Both the British and Jordanian governments want Abu Qatada to stand trial in Jordan, but the cleric claims that he would be severely tortured if he is deported to his home country, according to the AP. Britain's Home Office has called Abu Qatada "a dangerous man" and expressed their support of Judge Mitting's ruling, according to AFP. 

At the beginning of May, Qatada lost his bid to have his appeals against deportation heard at the European Court of Human Rights, effectively ending his efforts to have European legal officials interfere in his case, AFP reported. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120528/abu-qatada-radical-muslim-cleric-denied-bail-by-u