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Jordanian loses deportation appeal
Abu Qatada is an alleged radical believed to have links with al-Qaeda in Britain.
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2007 13:59 GMT
Abu Qatada said he feared
torture in his home country [AFP]
 
A Muslim preacher believed to have close links to al-Qaeda in Britain will be sent back to Jordan after the government won a legal battle over its decision to deport him.
 
Omar Mahmud Othma, also known as Abu Qatada, had appealed against deportation saying that he was at risk of torture.
But in a written judgment on Monday, Duncan Ouseley, a court judge, said the appeal had been dismissed.
 
"We have concluded that there is no real risk of persecution of the appellant were he now to be returned with the safeguards and in the circumstances which now apply to him," the judgment read.

The case of Abu Qatada, a Jordanian national and alleged radical who came to Britain in 1993, was a test of British efforts to allow deportations to countries accused of torture.

 

Britain has signed special agreements with countries such as Jordan containing guarantees that deportees will be well treated.

 

The memoranda of understanding evade European human rights legislation which forbids member states from deporting people to countries where they could be tortured.

 

John Reid, the British home secretary, said in a statement: "We welcome the decision of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission that Abu Qatada presents a threat to our national security and can be deported.

 

"I am very pleased that the court has confirmed this, and that this procedure will enable us to meet our international obligations," he said.

 

"We are also pleased that the court has recognised the value of memoranda of understanding. It is our firm belief that these agreements strike the right balance between allowing us to deport individuals who threaten the security of this country and safeguarding the rights of these individuals on their return."

 

Absentia

 

Abu Qatada has twice been convicted by Jordan in absentia on charges of involvement in terrorist plots.

  

Abu Qatada, who has been repeatedly linked to radical groups including the al-Qaeda network, is in detention awaiting the outcome of the case. He was not present in court.

   

The authorities say 18 videotapes of his sermons were found in an apartment in Germany used by three of the suicide hijackers who carried out the September 11 attacks on the US in 2001.

Source:
Agencies
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