UK Deports Radical Cleric to Jordan After Decade Fight

Abu Qatada will finally face trial in Jordan

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jul 7, 2013 5:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – A radical Muslim preacher suspected of being a key al-Qaeda operative in Europe arrived in Jordan today to face retrial on terrorism charges after his deportation from Britain, ending a decade-long legal battle over his fate. The return of 53-year-old Abu Qatada was viewed as a victory in Jordan, whose 2001 extradition request was blocked in British and European courts for more than a decade over human rights concerns. Britain and Jordan ratified a treaty on torture aimed at easing those worries, clearing the way for his deportation.

Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Momani said the kingdom "is keen on credibility and transparency" in handling Abu Qatada. The deportation of the Palestinian-born Jordanian cleric, Momani said, "sends a message to all fugitives that they will face justice in Jordan." Abu Qatada arrived at Amman's civilian airport on a British aircraft and was whisked in a green SUV, escorted by a 12-car convoy, with masked anti-terrorism police to the nearby premises of the military State Security Court on the outskirts of the Jordanian capital. Abu Qatada's father, Mahmoud, and an unidentified relative stood at the entrance of the court building, but were not allowed to enter.

Radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada, left, prepares to board a private flight bound for Jordan, in London, Sunday, July 7, 2013.
Radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada, left, prepares to board a private flight bound for Jordan, in London, Sunday, July 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ministry of Defense, Sgt. Ralph Merry)
Radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada, left, prepares to board a private flight bound for Jordan, in London, Sunday, July 7, 2013.
Radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada, left, prepares to board a private flight bound for Jordan, in London, Sunday, July 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ministry of Defense, Sgt. Ralph Merry)
Muslim preacher Abu Qatada boards a private flight bound for Jordan, in London Sunday, July 7, 2013.
Muslim preacher Abu Qatada boards a private flight bound for Jordan, in London Sunday, July 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ministry of Defense, Sgt. Ralph Merry)
A plane carrying Abu Qatada takes off in London for his deportation to Jordan, where he faces a retrial for alleged involvement in terrorist plots, Sunday, July 7, 2013.
A plane carrying Abu Qatada takes off in London for his deportation to Jordan, where he faces a retrial for alleged involvement in terrorist plots, Sunday, July 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
A police van carrying Abu Qatada arrives at RAF Northolt in London for his deportation to Jordan, Sunday, July 7, 2013.
A police van carrying Abu Qatada arrives at RAF Northolt in London for his deportation to Jordan, Sunday, July 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
This is a Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 file photo of Abu Qatada as he arrives back at his residence in London after being freed from prison.
This is a Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 file photo of Abu Qatada as he arrives back at his residence in London after being freed from prison.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
In this Tuesday, April 17, 2012 file photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London's Special Immigration Appeals Commission,
In this Tuesday, April 17, 2012 file photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London's Special Immigration Appeals Commission,   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
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