Britain to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan

UK papers report after 8 year fight cleric, described by judge as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe", will be sent home.

By REUTERS
July 6, 2013 12:32
Abu Qatada arrives back at his home after being released on bail, in London, November 13, 2012.

Abu Qatada. (photo credit: REUTERS/Neil Hall)

 
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LONDON - Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada will be deported by Britain to Jordan on Sunday, ending eight years of government efforts to send him home for trial, British papers reported on Saturday.

Abu Qatada, wanted in Jordan on charges of alleged terrorism, will be put on a special flight at around 1:00 p.m., The Times newspaper said. Observers from a Jordanian human rights organization would accompany him, the Telegraph said.

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A spokeswoman for the Home Office declined to comment on the reports.

Once described by a Spanish judge as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe", Abu Qatada has been in and out of jail since first being arrested in 2001. He was sent back to prison last March for breaching his bail conditions.

Jordan removed the last obstacle preventing Britain from sending Abu Qatada back home last month by approving an extradition treaty satisfying the concerns of British judges that evidence obtained through torture could be used against him.

The saga has been embarrassing for Britain's Conservative-led government, which wants to appear tough on security and immigration.

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