London: Abu Qatada, the radical cleric and terror suspect facing deportation to Jordan, has been denied bail by a court here due to the security challenges he might pose during the forthcoming Olympics. The cleric will remain in prison until his deportation appeal is heard in October, a judge ruled.

Justice Mitting, at the hearing of Special Immigration Appeals Commission, said: "Allowing Qatada bail during heightened security at the Olympic Games would be "exceptionally problematic".

Qatada, who has been contesting British move to deport him to Jordan, where he is accused of involvement in several bomb attacks, has been in jail for over seven years.

In view of the "very high level" of demand in resources during the Olympics, Justice Mitting was told by the Home Office barrister Robin Tam: "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".

Justice Mitting said the case had continued "for an unconscionable period of time" and listed the deportation appeal hearing for October 10. He added that there would be a decision a month later.

According to the Home Office, Qatada continues to pose a real risk to national security. It will continue to resist any bail application.


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