UK government vows to keep trying to deport preacher


Associated Press

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 27 at 8:03 AM

LONDON (AP) — Prosecutors describe him as a key al-Qaida operative in Europe, with ties to Osama bin Laden.

But a radical Muslim cleric has again thwarted an effort by British authorities to have him deported to Jordan. A court in London today accepted arguments that if he were to be sent to Jordan, he would face punishment based on testimony that was obtained through torture.

Abu Qatada was convicted in absentia in Jordan for terror plots in 1999 and 2000. British governments have been trying since 2001 to remove the man, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman.

But he has successfully fought deportation in British and European courts. And the fight isn't over. The British government is pledging to continue the efforts, despite today's loss in the Court of Appeal.

Britain says it will try to work with Jordan's government to address the concerns -- through some sort of guarantee that evidence obtained by torture won't be used.

British authorities accuse the cleric of having links with Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE'-uhs moo-SOW'-ee), the only person charged in the U.S. over the 9/11 attacks, and with shoe bomber Richard Reid.

%@AP Links

161-v-30-(Rosalind Tunnicliffe, correspondent)--A radical cleric terror suspect will remain in Britain because another in a series of efforts to ship him out has failed. Correspondent Rosalind Tunnicliffe reports. (27 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *161 (03/27/13)>> 00:30

162-c-17-(Rosalind Tunnicliffe, correspondent)-"and European courts"-Correspondent Rosalind Tunnicliffe reports a radical cleric terror suspect will stay in Britain because another legal effort to remove him has failed. ((note length of cut)) (27 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *162 (03/27/13)>> 00:17 "and European courts"

APPHOTO LON109: FILE - This is a Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 file photo of Abu Qatada as he arrives back at his residence in London after being freed from prison. The British government has lost its appeal Wednesday March 27, 2013, against an immigration tribunal's decision allowing a radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada to remain in Britain. Britain wants to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan, where he was convicted in absentia for terror plots in 1999 and 2000. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File) (13 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO LON109 (11/13/12)>>