News / Middle East

Radical Jordanian Cleric Offers to Leave Britain

In this April 17, 2012 photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London's Special Immigration Appeals Commission.In this April 17, 2012 photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London's Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
x
In this April 17, 2012 photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London's Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
In this April 17, 2012 photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London's Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
Al Pessin
At a bail hearing in London Friday, a lawyer for the militant Jordanian cleric Abu Qatada said his client would be willing to return to Jordan to face terrorism charges, if the country’s parliament ratifies a recently-negotiated treaty with Britain that bans the use of evidence obtained through torture.

Some commentators are calling this a “game changer” in the British government’s more than decade-long legal battle with Abu Qatada.  

Britain has been trying to deport him back to Jordan since shortly after he was convicted of terrorism there in 1999 in a trial he did not attend.  But various courts have blocked the effort, including the European Court of Human Rights, saying evidence allegedly gathered through torture might be used against him.  There are claims that men whose statements were used against Abu Qatada were tortured.

Abu Qatada would face a retrial if he returned to Jordan.  Last month, Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May told Parliament she had negotiated a new treaty with Jordan that would ensure any evidence obtained through torture will not be used in the retrial.

“I can tell the house that I have signed a comprehensive mutual legal assistance agreement with Jordan," said May. "This agreement is fully reciprocal, offers considerable advantages to both countries, and reflects our joint commitment to tackling international crime."

If Jordan’s parliament ratifies the treaty, a process that could take months, Abu Qatada would again face deportation. But he could still try to fight it in the British and European courts.  Friday’s offer would appear to promise he won’t do that, in an effort to convince the court to let him out of jail in the meantime.

At London’s King’s College, Research Fellow Frank Foley said Friday’s offer could be significant, but warns it may not signal an early end to the case.

“The Jordanians have given substantial legal undertakings - a stringent ban on the use of torture-obtained evidence.  One would have assumed that he will want to fight his case all the way, like he has done for 10 years now," he said.  "I wouldn’t rule out potentially further embarrassing developments for the British government in the future if Abu Qatada changes his mind.”

Foley also said the British government is not likely to accept any deal to grant bail, and the court will probably not take the lawyer’s offer into account out of concern that Abu Qatada might try to flee.  The next hearing is set for May 20.

In Britain, Abu Qatada is accused of violating immigration rules.  A Spanish judge said he was al-Qaida’s top operative in Europe, and he allegedly has links to other terrorist groups, including one in Germany and one in Chechnya.

He also issued an Islamic ruling endorsing the killing of converts from Islam in Algeria, along with their wives and children.  And he has advocated killing Jews and praised attacks on Americans.

Fifty-two-year-old Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, applied for political asylum in Britain in 1993. In recent years, has been in and out of British prisons.

(In an earlier version of this story Frank Foley was incorrectly identified as James Foley.)

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hatem Zaki from: Egypt
May 12, 2013 11:29 AM
I don't know why UK allowed for terrorists to live there. they sound like they don't care about the victims the terrorists killed .UK pretend to be the democracy model regardless how many victims were killed

by: B. Q. from: London
May 10, 2013 1:09 PM
that is where we lost the "great" in Britain... did you notice no one calls us "Great Britain" any more??? it is because we have degenerated into an Islamic third world country... we are the Islamabad of Europe... how sad!

by: fsanford from: Sandpoint, ID
May 10, 2013 10:29 AM
Your are dealing with Terrorists!! Most are willing to die for their cause

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More