LONDON – Bail should be revoked for a radical Muslim preacher accused of raising funds for terror groups because he is planning to go into hiding, the British government argued Thursday.
Britain's Home Office said that Abu Qatada — once described as Usama bin Laden's representative in Europe — has extensive contacts that could help him evade authorities.
"Should Abu Qatada abscond his supporters would base a significant propaganda campaign on this, further boosting Abu Qatada's already substantial extremist profile and influence which would damage U.K. national security," Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in a statement to Britain's Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
Abu Qatada was re-arrested over the weekend, apparently for a bail violation, according to British newspaper reports.
A two-day hearing into the matter concluded Thursday after which the Home Office released its statement. The commission is expected to make a decision within the next several days.
Authorities accuse Abu Qatada of raising large amounts of money for extremist networks in Britain.
Officials say the Palestinian-Jordanian had ties to convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid and to Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged and convicted in the United States for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Under his bail agreement, he's must remain in or very near his home and wear an electronic monitoring device.