Paper review: Radical cleric's release opposed

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Media captionA look at the first editions of the UK papers

The papers largely agree something is wrong when a court frees a man viewed by the state as a threat to security.

The Daily Telegraph says the case of radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada is "making a mockery of the British justice system".

"The human rights regime", the Daily Express says, has undermined the first duty of government - "to ensure the safety of its own citizens".

The Guardian questions why the authorities never put him on trial.

President's wife

Suggesting the crisis in Syria has "suddenly turned worse", the Guardian condemns Russia and China for blocking a peace plan at the United Nations.

In a cartoon in the Times, the UN headquarters in New York carries the sign "UNfit for purpose".

In a message to the paper from Asma Assad, she talks of supporting her husband as "President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians".

The Independent's Robert Fisk fears Mr Assad won't go "for quite a long time".


The recommendation by a parliamentary committee that every MP should receive a free iPad prompts indignation.

"Perhaps in Whitehall they think Apples grow on trees," suggests the Sun.

The decision by Network Rail bosses to forego their bonuses generates much comment, with an Independent cartoon showing a delayed "£20m gravy train".

In the Telegraph, David Cameron is depicted as a Dickensian workhouse supervisor facing a line of pin-striped figures with empty bowls. "More?!"

Double century

On the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens's birth, coverage includes his photograph on the Guardian front page.

Inside, biographer Claire Tomalin asks how he might view the world in 2012.

"The absence of workhouses and the small number of street children would please you", but not the "gulf between the rich... and the poor", she writes.

A snowy Guardian cartoon merges two stories: "Of course we can't extradite Abu Qatada - we don't have an airport that's open."

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