Last updated: 21 March, 2013

Police probe documents obtained in Abu Qatada search

Jordanian terror suspect Abu Qatada is under investigation over documents obtained by police during a search of his London home, Scotland Yard said Thursday.

Abu Qatada, 52, was meant to appear in court Thursday to find out if he would be granted bail after being rearrested on March 8 for allegedly breaching his terms.

But the hearing was postponed to give police time to scrutinise material recovered from the radical preacher’s north London home.

“When we searched his house before his arrest that was a police search in relation to investigating some publications, to see if that was anything that reached a criminal threshold,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne.

“There is an awful lot of media that needs to be looked through.”

Abu Qatada, who has been dubbed Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, was found to have breached the conditions of his bail granted last November.

Successive British governments have been trying for a decade to deport Abu Qatada after he was convicted in absentia in Jordan of involvement in terror attacks in 1998.

Home Secretary Theresa May is battling to overturn a judge’s decision to allow the preacher to remain in Britain on the grounds that evidence obtained through torture could be used against him.

Prime Minister David Cameron voiced his frustration after the cleric’s release in November, saying he was “completely fed up with the fact that this man is still at large in our country”.

Britain initially detained Abu Qatada in 2002 under anti-terror laws imposed in the wake of 9/11 but he was released under house arrest.