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Britain Deports Radical Cleric Abu Qatada

  • VOA News

Jordanian preacher Abu Qatada, left, driven from a Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing in central London, April 17, 2012.

Jordanian preacher Abu Qatada, left, driven from a Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing in central London, April 17, 2012.

A jet carrying radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada left Britain for Jordan early Sunday, ending a nearly decade-long battle to deport him.

British Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed that the 53-year-old Abu Qatada, once dubbed Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, had left the country.

Abu Qatada is wanted in Jordan to face retrial in several terrorism cases in which he was sentenced in absentia.

Successive British governments have tried since 2001 to deport Abu Qatada, but courts have blocked extradition over concerns that evidence obtained under torture could be used against him.

Last month, Jordan and Britain signed a treaty aimed at ensuring that does not happen.

According to a report by Reuters: 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, the Reuters report continued, has been embarrassing for Britain's Conservative-led government, which wants to appear tough on security and immigration.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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