EDL protests may explain Abu Qatada’s alleged bail breach, tribunal hears

12:44 20 May 2013

Radical cleric Abu Qatada’s alleged breach of his bail conditions may have been because of English Defence League (EDL) demonstations outside his house, Qatada’s lawyer told an immigration tribunal today.

EDL protests near Qatada’s London home frightened his family and left them panicked, which may have explained why they failed to take care of mobile phone devices in the home, Daniel Friedman QC said.

In March Qatada allegedly breached bail conditions which prevent him from turning mobile phones and possessing other communication devices at his taxpayer-funded home.

The terror suspect, who recently pledged to voluntarily leave Britain after years of fighting deportation, was then jailed in Belmarsh prison for the breach.

Speaking at Qatada’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) to request bail, Friedman said Qatada accepts that six mobile phones belonging to his wife and his children could have been on but doubts that they were.

He added: “He didn’t use them and didn’t want to use them.”

Earlier this month, it emerged the controversial preacher is willing to return to the Middle East when a treaty between the UK and Jordan is ratified by both countries.

The agreement, unveiled by Home Secretary Theresa May last month, aims to allay fears that evidence extracted through torture will be used against the terror suspect at a retrial.

Friedman also said Qatada is a “proud and dignified man” who has been held in custody for too long

“He has been taken from his family on several occasions over the years into high risk security category-A units,” he said.

“He has been deprived of his liberty more than any other non-convicted person in British history.”

He added: “Against this background, he wants to spend time with his family to prepare to leave the country in a manner that safeguards the dignity and security of all involved.”

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