Qatada family wins case on protests

News Shopper: Protesters have been demonstrating outside the house where Abu Qatada's wife and five children live Protesters have been demonstrating outside the house where Abu Qatada's wife and five children live

The family of radical preacher Abu Qatada has won an injunction preventing protesters from demonstrating outside their home.

His wife and five children were granted an "anti-harassment" order by a High Court judge in London.

Mr Justice Silber also granted them an injunction against various protest groups which is aimed at preventing the misuse of private information.

The judge stressed that his decision did not prevent organisations from protesting against Qatada, provided demonstrations take place more than 500 metres from the London house where they are living.

He said evidence showed that the claimants, including two children under the age of 16, "have suffered extreme distress and upset" by the actions of demonstrators outside their address.

The judge pointed out that Qatada, whose real name is Omar Othman, was not a party to the proceedings. He emphasised that the case was not concerned with whether "Omar Othman should still be in this country or whether he should be in prison in this country" and was also not concerned with whether he or his family "should be provided with a house financed by the United Kingdom taxpayers".

It was accepted "that it is perfectly legitimate" for there to be protests about his presence in the country and about the house provided to his family. The injunctions continued orders made by another High Court judge earlier this month.

Home Secretary Theresa May's appeal against a decision to allow Qatada to stay in the UK is due to be heard on March 11.

Three Court of Appeal judges will hear the challenge, which follows a ruling by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) that Qatada should not be deported to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999.

The court action for injunctions was brought against a number of groups, including English National Resistance, Britain First and the English Defence League, as well as against "persons unknown who are intending to assemble outside the home" of the claimants. Mr Justice Silber said the family did not seek to prevent demonstrations more than 500m from the house.

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