Jordan Acquits bin Laden's 'Right-Hand Man'

Abu Qatada will soon be a free man, lawyer says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2014 3:03 AM CDT
Updated Sep 24, 2014 7:03 AM CDT
Jordan Acquits Radical Cleric
Abu Qatada sits behind bars at the Jordanian military court in Amman, Jordan.    (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh, File)

Radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada spent a decade fighting deportation from Britain to his native Jordan—but the country has now acquitted him on the terror charges he was brought back to face. A civilian court decided there was not enough evidence to find the man once described as Osama bin Laden's "right-hand man" in Europe guilty of involvement in a "Millennium plot" to attack Western and Israeli targets in Jordan on New Year's Eve in 1999, the AP reports. The 53-year-old's lawyer says he expects him to be free within hours.

Prosecutors accused Qatada—who was acquitted in June of involvement in a 1998 bombing plot—of providing spiritual support to the men behind the thwarted plot, reports the BBC. The preacher had already been found guilty in absentia of involvement in both terrorist plots, but he was granted retrials after he was sent back to the country last year. Under the terms of his deportation from Britain to Jordan, evidence that may have been obtained by torturing his co-defendants was not allowed at the new trials. (More Abu Qatada stories.)

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