Islamist cleric Abu Qatada has been placed under effective house arrest following his release from prison. He will wear a tag, be prevented from using mobile phones and the internet, and only be allowed outside during a one-hour period twice a day.
He has spent six years in detention without charge, and the house arrest is the government’s fallback after its preferred option — deporting him to Jordan — fell through (because, reasonably, the courts decided he was at risk of torture in Jordan).
Abu Qatada is a dangerous reactionary. But laws that allow individuals — however monstrous their views — to be detained for six years without charge or trial are also reactionary and dangerous.
Laws used to detain a clerical-fascist today will be used against others tomorrow.