British-allied Jordan' court acquits Abu Qatada of terror charges

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Friday, 27 June 2014


Jordanian-Abu-QatadaJordanian cleric Abu Qatada, who had been expelled from Britain, is cleared of all charges of "terrorism" by a Jordanian court.

A panel of civilian judges sitting at the State Security Court in capital Amman acquitted Qatada of charges of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism on Thursday.

In 2000, the Jordanian government had accused Qatada of involvement in a series of 1998 bombings as well as a failed plot in 2000. Abu Qatada was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor.

Qatada was first arrested and detained in Britain in 2001 and had been fighting his deportation from the country since 2005. The Muslim cleric was finally extradited to his home country in July last year.

The 53-year-old cleric is still in custody awaiting another hearing in September at earliest due to separate charges, which relate to an alleged plot to attack tourists during Jordan's New Year celebrations in 2000.

Qatata's lawyer Ghazi Thunaibat said he hopes the results of the second trial would be the same.

    “My client has spent too long in prison unfairly and we hope the next verdict will finally end his plight and allow him to resume a normal life with his family,” he added.

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the deportation of the Muslim cleric from Britain last year as “excellent news”, saying his extradition was a priority for his government.

After the court ruling, Cameron's official spokesperson said Qatada will never be allowed back into Britain because “he was deported on an indefinite deportation order.”

According to reports, a near decade-long battle to get Qatada out of Britain cost British taxpayer at least £1.7 million.

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    "The court announces the acquittal of the defendant for lack of evidence," said Judge Ahmad Qatarneh, the president of the tribunal.

In 2000, the Jordanian government had accused Qatada of involvement in a series of 1998 bombings as well as a failed plot in 2000. Abu Qatada was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor.

Qatada was first arrested and detained in Britain in 2001 and had been fighting his deportation from the country since 2005. The Muslim cleric was finally extradited to his home country in July last year.

The 53-year-old cleric is still in custody awaiting another hearing in September at earliest due to separate charges, which relate to an alleged plot to attack tourists during Jordan's New Year celebrations in 2000.

Qatata's lawyer Ghazi Thunaibat said he hopes the results of the second trial would be the same.

    “My client has spent too long in prison unfairly and we hope the next verdict will finally end his plight and allow him to resume a normal life with his family,” he added.

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the deportation of the Muslim cleric from Britain last year as “excellent news”, saying his extradition was a priority for his government.

After the court ruling, Cameron's official spokesperson said Qatada will never be allowed back into Britain because “he was deported on an indefinite deportation order.”

According to reports, a near decade-long battle to get Qatada out of Britain cost British taxpayer at least £1.7 million.

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