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Abu Qatada wins appeal against deportation to Jordan

By AP - Nov 12,2012 - Last updated at Nov 12,2012

AMMAN — The government on Monday expressed disappointment over a British court’s verdict to uphold Jordanian national Omar Mahmoud Othman’s appeal against extradition to Jordan.

In a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Minister of Justice Ghaleb Zu’bi said the government has given assurances to the UK that the cleric, known as Abu Qatada, would receive a fair trial in Jordan.

The minister said the Kingdom is ready to work with the British authorities on future steps regarding Abu Qatada’s trial.

British judges on Monday upheld an appeal by terror suspect Abu Qatada against his extradition to Jordan, ruling that there was a risk of evidence obtained by torture being used against him, Agence France-Presse reported.

The British government immediately condemned the decision and said it would continue its fight to deport the Islamist preacher, AFP said. 

Abu Qatada will be released on Tuesday under bail conditions that include a 16-hour curfew at his London home, Reuters reported.

The UK has sought to deport the preacher, who was convicted in absentia of involvement in terror attacks in Jordan in 1998, for six years, but has come up against resistance from European institutions that oppose his deportation on supposed human rights grounds.

UK Home Secretary Theresa May visited Jordan in March and received assurances from the government that the cleric would receive a fair trial. 

The then-government spokesperson Rakan Majali explained that Jordanian law requires that verdicts in absentia be cancelled as soon as the convicted individual stands trial in person before a Jordanian court.

The minister stressed that Jordan’s Constitution and laws ensure a fair trial for any defendant and that Abu Qatada was no exception.

Monday’s ruling, delivered at a special court that deals with security cases, said May had been wrong not to revoke an earlier deportation ruling against Abu Qatada, and allowed his appeal, Reuters reported.

May had ordered his extradition after she was given assurances by Jordanian authorities that no evidence gained through torture would be used against him in a retrial on his return to Jordan.

But the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a semi-secret panel of British judges that deals with decisions on national security, said it could not be guaranteed that Abu Qatada would receive fair treatment, AFP reported.

In October, Britain extradited another radical Islamist preacher, Abu Hamza, and four other terror suspects to the United States at the end of a long legal battle, the agency said. 

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in January that Abu Qatada could not be deported to Jordan because of a risk that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him in any future trial there.

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