Deported from UK to Jordan in July 2013
|Born||Omar Mahmoud Othman|
(age 57–58), Bethlehem, Jordan-annexed West Bank
Salafi cleric and Jordanian national, expelled from UK
Abu Qatada (born Omar Othman in 1959/1960) is a Salafi cleric and Jordanian national. Qatada was accused of having links to terrorist organisations, and frequently imprisoned in the United Kingdom without formal charges or prosecution before being deported to Jordan, where courts found him innocent of multiple terrorism charges.
Qatada claimed asylum in the United Kingdom in 1993 on a forged passport. In 1999, he was convicted in absentia in Jordan of planning thwarted terror plots during Jordan's millennium eve, and was sentenced for lifetime imprisonment with hard labour. Qatada was repeatedly imprisoned and released in the United Kingdom after he was first detained under anti-terrorism laws in 2002, but was not prosecuted for any crime. The Algerian government described Abu Qatada as being involved with Islamists in London and possibly elsewhere. After initially barring the United Kingdom from deporting Abu Qatada to Jordan, in May 2012 the European Court of Human Rights denied him leave to appeal against deportation without specifying a reason.
On 12 November 2012, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) upheld Abu Qatada's appeal against deportation and released him on restrictive bail conditions. The Home Secretary Theresa May said the government would appeal against the decision. He was deported to Jordan on 7 July 2013, after the UK and Jordanian governments agreed and ratified a treaty satisfying the need for clarification that evidence potentially gained through torture would not be used against him in his forthcoming trial.
On 26 June 2014, Abu Qatada was retried as the Jordanian legal system requires if the convict returned to the country. He was found not guilty by a Jordanian court of terrorism charges relating to an alleged 1999 plot. He remained in prison pending a verdict that was due September 2014 on a second alleged plot. On 24 September 2014, a panel of civilian judges sitting at Amman's State Security Court cleared him of being involved in a thwarted plot aimed at Western and Israeli targets in Jordan during the millennium celebrations in 2000 due to "insufficient evidence". Evidence used to convict him in the previous trial were overturned, per the treaty signed between the United Kingdom and Jordan, as they may have been potentially acquired through torture.
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- "Britain: Radical Cleric Faces Setback in Court Over Efforts to Deport Him", reprinted by The New York Times, 9 May 2012.