Cleric Abu Qatada May Leave Britain Voluntarily

by
Reuters
Radical cleric Abu Qatada will return to Jordan voluntarily if the Jordanian parliament ratifies a deal with Britain that ensures he will receive a fair trial, the cleric's lawyer said on Friday.

Cleric Abu Qatada

Radical cleric Abu Qatada will return to Jordan voluntarily if the Jordanian parliament ratifies a deal with Britain that ensures he will receive a fair trial, the cleric's lawyer said on Friday.

Britain's government has for years tried to deport Abu Qatada, who is accused of being Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, but judges have repeatedly blocked this on grounds he could receive an unfair trial, embarrassing the government.

Abu Qatada has never been charged with an offence in Britain, but faces terrorism charges in Jordan.

Judges say they fear evidence obtained through torture may be used against him in Jordan. Britain last month signed a new treaty with Jordan aimed at addressing those concerns.

"If and when the Jordanian parliament ratifies that treaty, Mr Othman (Abu Qatada) will voluntarily return to Jordan," Edward Fitzgerald, a lawyer representing him told a British court.

The hearing was related to the cleric's arrest in March for having mobile phones and other communications equipment in his home, a breach of his bail conditions.