Brit taxpayers to pay 1 mln pounds on Osama's right hand man's security

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London, May 17 : More than one million pounds of the British tax-payers' money will be spent annually on the security of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's right hand man in Europe Abu Qatada, once he is released from the Belmarsh Prison in South East London. He will be kept under house-arrest in a government accommodation.

Security sources said that there was no other alternative but to spend the amount on the security of Qatada. It will cost a fortune to watch Qatada 24 hours-a-day, but he is so dangerous that there is no alternative once he is released, a security source said and added: "It is criminal that the taxpayer has to foot the bill."

Once Qatada is released from high-security Belmarsh Prison in South East London, he will be monitored by a specialist team, costing around 14,000 pounds a week, reported The Sun.

He is believed to have arrived in Britain 14 years ago on a forged UAE passport and was granted refugee status after claiming asylum. Though he denies being Bin Laden's "European Ambassador", British security forces believe he is at the centre of al-Qaeda terrorist activity in the UK.

Qatada (44) is wanted by Jordan on suspicion of plotting terror atrocities, but was granted bail by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission earlier this month. Only last month the Appeal Court blocked his extradition to Jordan, over fears that he may be tortured. The British Home Office has lodged an appeal against the deportation ban, but in case it fails, Qatada will be placed under a less strict control order.

The staggering cost of keeping him in the UK was revealed amid a row over how to stop Qatada posing a threat to Brits.

He is demanding to return to his 750,000-pound home in West London where his family's 4000-pounds-a-month rent is paid by the State, but police and security services insist that the cleric should live in a Government safe house so that he could be monitored more easily.

Police will argue over the arrangements with his lawyers at a hearing next week, but a security source said: "Either way, when he gets out he'll be living at the expense of the taxpayer. It sticks in the craw."

ANI

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