Abu Qatada(above), who has been described in Spanish and British courts as a leading al Qaeda figure in Europe, is being held in a high-security prison while he fights deportation to Jordan over terror charges.— File Photo by Reuters

LONDON: Radical cleric Abu Qatada is launching a new legal bid at Britain’s High Court for release from detention.        

Abu Qatada, who has been described in Spanish and British courts as a leading al Qaeda figure in Europe, is being held in a high-security prison while he fights deportation to Jordan over terror charges.

Both the British and Jordanian governments want Abu Qatada to stand trial in Jordan, but he claims he will be tortured if he is deported there.

In May, Britain’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission denied bail to Abu Qatada ahead of his deportation appeal in October, saying having him on the streets during the Olympics would be “exceptionally problematic.”

On Tuesday, his will ask High Court judges for permission to challenge his ongoing detention.

The lawyers are applying for permission to seek judicial review and a writ of habeas corpus freeing him from custody while he fights deportation to Jordan.

Britain’s Home Office has said it will “strongly resist” any attempt to overturn the decision to keep Abu Qatada locked up, calling the latest legal bid “the last desperate attempts of a man who has run out of options.”

Abu Qatada has fought attempts to expel him from the UK since 2001.

Updated Jul 31, 2012 06:37am

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