Cleric barred from returning to Britain

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Lebanese police on Friday released radical Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed after a 24-hour detention for interrogation.

Public Prosecutor Said Mirza said Bakri was released after being interrogated on certain matters and can stay in Lebanon. He said the Public Prosecution received no request for extraditing Bakri to Syria, where arrest warrants are issued against him.


Bakri, a Syrian who holds Lebanese nationality, arrived in Lebanon over the weekend from Britain where he has lived since 1985. British authorities decided Friday to bar him from returning to Britain, where he had been granted political asylum, "on the grounds that his presence is not conducive to the public good."

Beirut's daily As-Safir reported that Syrian authorities had officially requested Bakri's extradition after he was arrested in Beirut Thursday.

Bakri had said he intended to stay in Lebanon after being harassed in Britain following the London bombings last month. The cleric told the Times of London he also had been contemplating returning to Lebanon for five years "because of the pressures I faced after the 9/11 attacks."

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