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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid