LONDON (AP) — Radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada is launching a new legal bid at Britain’s High Court for release from detention.
Britain has been trying for years to deport Abu Qatada, a Palestinian-Jordanian preacher described in both Spanish and British courts as a leading al-Qaida figure in Europe and a threat to national security.
Abu Qatada 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 lawyers will ask High Court judges for permission to challenge his detention. The lawyers are applying for permission to seek judicial review and a writ of habeas corpus freeing him while he fights deportation.
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, also known as Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, has fought attempts to expel him from the U.K. since 2001.
He has previously been convicted in absentia in Jordan of terrorist offenses related to two alleged bomb plots in 1999 and 2000, and he will face a retrial if deported from Britain.