Radical cleric Abu Qatada released from jail

Radical cleric Abu Qatada released from jail

Radical cleric Abu Qatada released from jail

Radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada, accused of funding terrorist groups, was today released from jail on bail after a court ruled he cannot be deported from Britain to Jordan to face terrorism charges.

It's the latest stage in a long-running battle over British efforts to deport 51-year-old Qatada, accused of funding terrorist groups and said to have inspired one of the 9/11 hijackers.

Yesterday's ruling by the special immigration appeals commission (Siac) came as a setback for Britain's home secretary Theresa May, who personally secured assurances from the Jordanian authorities that he would not face a trial based on evidence obtained by torture.

Justice Mitting and the two other senior judges who allowed Qatada's appeal against deportation to jordan, said that despite those assurances a real risk remained that he would face a trial based on such evidence.

The British government says Abu Qatada raised money for terrorist groups, including organisations linked to former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and has publicly supported the violent activities of those groups.

Also known as Omar Othman, Abu Qatada arrived in the United Kingdom in 1993 and applied for asylum on the grounds that he had been tortured by Jordanian authorities.
He came to Britain on a forged United Arab Emirates passport, according to court documents, and claimed asylum for himself, his wife and their three children.

Britain has been trying to deport Abu Qatada for years, but his legal appeals have kept him in the United Kingdom.

In January, the European Court of Human Rights blocked Britain from sending him to Jordan because of fears that evidence obtained by torture could be used against him at the trial planned by the Middle Eastern country.

Britain then launched a round of negotiations with Jordan in order to deal with the court's concerns and arrested Abu Qatada again on April 17.

The Siac ruling yesterday made it clear that while the judges agreed the Jordanian assurances meant Qatada would not face ill-treatment or torture, they could not be satisfied that previous evidence obtained by torture would not be admitted at any retrial.

"The government strongly disagrees with this ruling. We have obtained assurances not just in relation to the treatment of Qatada himself, but about the quality of the legal processes that would be followed throughout his trial," a Home Office representative said.

The representative said the government would appeal yesterday's ruling.

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