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Qatada's lengthy deportation battle

Abu Qatada has been described as al Qaida's spiritual leader in Europe, the most significant extremist preacher in the UK and "a truly dangerous individual".

Since 2001, when fears of the domestic terror threat rose in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, he has challenged, and ultimately thwarted, every attempt by the Government to detain and deport him.

Here is a timeline of key events in his long-running battle against deportation.

1993

:: September 16 - The Jordanian father-of-five, real name Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, claims asylum when he arrives in Britain on a forged passport.

1994

:: June - He is allowed to stay in Britain.

1995

:: March - Qatada issues a "fatwa" justifying the killing of converts from Islam, their wives and children in Algeria.

1998

:: May - He applies for indefinite leave to remain in Britain.

1999

:: April - He is convicted in his absence on terror charges in Jordan and sentenced to life imprisonment.

:: October - The radical cleric speaks in London advocating the killing of Jews and praising attacks on Americans.

2001

:: February - He is arrested by anti-terror police over involvement in a plot to bomb Strasbourg Christmas market. Officers find him in possession of 170,000 in cash, including 805 in an envelope marked "For the mujahedin in Chechnya".

:: December - Qatada becomes one of Britain's most wanted men after going on the run from his home in Acton, West London.

2002

:: October - He is arrested by police in a council house in south London and detained in Belmarsh high-security jail.

2005

:: March - He is freed on conditional bail and placed on a control order.

:: August - The preacher is arrested under immigration rules as the Government seeks to deport him to Jordan.

2008

:: April - The Court of Appeal rules that deporting Qatada would breach his human rights because evidence used against him in Jordan may have been obtained through torture.

:: May - Qatada is granted bail by the immigration tribunal but told he must stay inside for 22 hours a day.

:: June - He is released from Long Lartin jail in Worcestershire and moves into a four-bedroom 800,000 home in west London.

:: November - He is rearrested after the Home Office tells an immigration hearing of fears he plans to abscond.

:: December - Qatada's bail is revoked by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) after hearing secret evidence that the risk of him absconding has increased.

2009

:: February 18 - In a landmark judgment, five Law Lords unanimously back the Government's policy of removing terror suspects from Britain on the basis of assurances from foreign governments.

It is ruled he can be deported to Jordan to face a retrial on the terror charges.

:: February 19 - Qatada is awarded 2,800 euro (2,500) compensation by the European Court of Human Rights after the judges rule that his detention without trial in the UK under anti-terrorism powers breached his human rights.

2012

:: January 17 - European judges rule that the firebrand cleric can be sent back to Jordan with diplomatic assurances but he cannot be deported while "there remains a real risk that evidence obtained by torture will be used against him".

:: February 6 - Siac rules he can be released on bail, despite posing a risk to national security.

:: February 9 - David Cameron and King Abdullah of Jordan agree on the "importance of finding an effective resolution" to his case, Downing Street says.

:: February 13 - It emerges that Qatada has been released on strict bail terms from Long Lartin prison.

:: April 17 - The cleric is arrested as the Government prepares to deport him to Jordan, with Siac president Mr Justice Mitting saying Home Secretary Theresa May has secured assurances from Jordan that it will "bend over backwards" to ensure Qatada receives a fair trial.

:: April 18 - Qatada's legal team lodges a fresh appeal attempt with Europe's human rights judges, saying the Strasbourg-based court was wrong when it ruled that he would not be at risk of torture if returned.

The Home Secretary insists the move is simply a "delaying tactic" and claims that the appeal was made too late to be granted anyway.

:: April 30 - Al Qaida's North African branch, al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, offers to free British hostage Stephen Malcolm if Qatada is released by the UK.

On the same day, then-immigration minister Damian Green says repeated failed attempts to deport Qatada have cost 825,000 in legal fees since 2002 and confirms that the bill will continue to grow.

:: May 9 - Qatada loses his attempt to have his appeal over deportation heard by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, clearing the way for deportation proceedings to continue.

The ruling is a narrow escape for Mrs May as, while they rejected the case, the panel of five judges also rules that Qatada's appeal on the night of April 17 was within the court's deadline.

:: May 28 - The radical cleric's attempt for freedom is blocked by Siac president Mr Justice Mitting as he denies bail, saying that to free Qatada on to London's streets would be "exceptionally problematic" during heightened security during the Olympics.

:: August 9 - Qatada loses a fresh bid for freedom at the High Court, with the judges rejecting a "gloomy prognosis" that there could be another year or more of litigation before a final decision is made.

:: October 10 - Qatada's appeal hearing, which will test the assurances offered by Jordan, is heard by Siac president Mr Justice Mitting, Upper Tribunal judge Peter Lane and Dame Denise Holt.

:: November 12 - Siac allows his appeal.

:: November 13 - Qatada is released from Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire

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