The Home Office believed that the three month deadline for Qatada to appeal had run out at midnight on Monday, and arrested him at his home ahead of his deportation.
However today his lawyers launched an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights arguing he still had a further 24 hours in which to launch his bid.
It could pave the way for a lengthy legal dispute and allow Qatada’s lawyers to argue for him to be released again on bail.
Qatada’s legal team claims that judges at the European Court of Human Rights were wrong three months ago when they ruled that he would not be at risk of torture if returned to Jordan, a court spokeswoman said.
The court’s Grand Chamber will decide whether to hear his appeal, but the radical cleric, once described by a judge as Osama bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe, cannot be deported until the court has reached a decision.