London, June 18 : Radical Islamist preacher, Abu Qatada described as Osama bin Laden's "right-hand man in Europe, has been released from jail.
Abu Qatada, 47, was freed from Long Lartin Prison, in Worcestershire, after winning his fight against deportation from Britain. A senior judge earlier signed papers authorising the release of Abu Qatada, ruling that there were no grounds to keep him in prison. The Palestinian-Jordanian preacher will be subjected to a 22-hour home curfew and tight restrictions on his liberty. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said that she is "disappointed" with the decision to release him, and says the government will appeal.
Abu Qatada was once described by a judge as a "truly dangerous individual at the centre of al Qaeda's activities in the UK".
The decision to allow him to return to his home in London, where he will receive around 1,000 pounds per month in state benefits, made a mockery of the government's promise to crack down on terror suspects, and embarrassed the Home Office, which had pledged to deport Qatada to Jordan to face terror charges.
After being freed from HMP Long Lartin Prison, Qatada was driven to Acton in West London where he must spend at least 22 hours a day at home, wearing an electronic tag, The Telegraph reported.
Police are expected to maintain a constant presence outside Qatada's home to protect him from vigilante attacks, at an annual cost of tens of thousands of pounds.
Qatada, 47, has been accused of helping to inspire the September 11 attacks after videos of his sermons were found in the flat used by three of the hijackers, including their leader Mohammed Atta.
He is wanted in his native Jordan for allegedly plotting a series of bomb attacks in Amman in 1998 and for providing finance and advice to terrorists planning a series of explosions on Millennium night.