The family of radical cleric Abu Qatada – who was deported to Jordan – has left the UK, the Home Office said last night.
The 53-year-old was deported last month to be retried on terror charges following a lengthy extradition battle that cost the taxpayer in excess of £3 million.
The cleric was convicted in absentia of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis, Americans and other Westerners in Jordan in two alleged foiled plots in 1999 and 2000, but will have a new trial.
The Home Office said that Abu Qatada’s wife and five children had agreed to drop a long-standing application to stay in the UK and have now left the country.
They are expected to join him in Jordan.
A Home Office spokesman refused to comment last night on whether the family would be allowed to return if they wanted to.
It is understood that the home secretary has immigration and security powers that allow the UK to stop individuals travelling to the country.
Qatada fled to Britain from Jordan in 1993 with his wife and three children, using a forged passport United Arab Emirates passport. He claimed asylum on the grounds of religious persecution and was granted leave to remain in 1994.
The Palestinian-Jordanian cleric was first arrested in the UK in 2001 over the alleged offences in Jordan and had been fighting deportation since 2005.
When his battle finally came to an end with his removal to a high-security jail near Jordanian capital Amman in July, Home Secretary Theresa May said the UK government had been “vindicated”.
She said at the time that Abu Qatada’s wife and children would have to decide what they wanted their future to be before the government got involved.