(LOS ANGELES TIMES) REPORTING FROM LONDON — A radical Islamic preacher who has been under detention for most of the last six and a half years but never formally charged with an offense was released from jail Monday amid public criticism over why he is being allowed to remain in Britain.

Abu Qatada, 51, was let out of a high-security prison in central England on Monday night, a week after a judge issued an order for him to be bailed despite vigorous objections from the government. British officials consider Abu Qatada extremely dangerous, a cleric who encourages suicide attacks and terrorism, and prefer to see him stay behind bars or deported back to his native Jordan.

His release does not make Abu Qatada much of a free man, however. The conditions of his bail are so stringent as to be almost tantamount to house arrest, including confinement to his home 22 hours a day, restriction from traveling outside a heavily circumscribed area, the wearing of an electronic tag, and a ban on Internet, computer and cellphone use.

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