Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

10 PREACHERS OF HATE HELD; They Are a Threat to Society, Says ClarkeAbu Qatada among Extremists Facing Exit after Deals with Their Home Countries TARGET LONDON HOME OFFICE BEGINS MOVES TO DEPORT UNWANTED FOREIGN NATIONALS AFTER GETTING ASSURANCES THEY WILL NOT BE TORTURED BACK HOME

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

10 PREACHERS OF HATE HELD; They Are a Threat to Society, Says ClarkeAbu Qatada among Extremists Facing Exit after Deals with Their Home Countries TARGET LONDON HOME OFFICE BEGINS MOVES TO DEPORT UNWANTED FOREIGN NATIONALS AFTER GETTING ASSURANCES THEY WILL NOT BE TORTURED BACK HOME

Article excerpt

Byline: JUSTIN DAVENPORT

TEN Islamic extremists were detained today in a crackdown on alleged preachers of hate.

All of them are foreign nationals deemed to be a "threat to national security", said Home Secretary Charles Clarke.

The Home Office said the aim was to deport the men back to their countries of origin.

They include Abu Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden's "ambassador in Europe".

Seven of those detained were held at addresses in east and west London by Immigration Service officials supported by uniformed police officers.

The move follows months of diplomatic negotiations in which Britain has received assurances that the men will not face torture in the countries they are sent back to.

The 10 men were detained under immigration orders in dawn raids. Police sources described it as a low-key operation which was carried out with "discreet" knocks on doors. No armed officers were involved and the addresses were not searched.

It comes after Tony Blair promised to act after 7/7 and 21/7 over preachers thought to be influencing young Muslims with messages of hate.

Mr Clarke said today: "The circumstances of our national security have changed. It is vital that we act against those who threaten it." The men will be held "in secure prison service accommodation". Mr Clarke said that the Immigration Act gives him "powers to deport individuals, and to detain them pending deportation". A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "A number of individuals were detained by the Immigration Service and police assisted with the transfer of these individuals into the care of the Prison Service.

"Met officers have made no arrests and have not taken any individual into police custody."

Other police forces involved today were Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and the West Midlands.

Jordanian Qatada is said to have inspired a string of terrorists with his fiery sermons, including some of the September 11 hijackers and the shoebomber-Richard Reid. Qatada became one of Britain's most wanted men when he went on the run in December 2001, on the eve of government moves to introduce new anti-terror laws. …

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