Radical Cleric deported from UK Faces Trial in Jordan

Abu Qatada finally lost his battle over extradition that lasted for nearly a decade. The United Kingdom finally deported Abu Qatada the radical cleric to Jordan where he will face charges of terrorism.

The struggles by the UK underscore Western governments’ challenge in balancing the fight against terrorism with human rights.

Since 2001, two successive governments in Britain have repeatedly attempted and failed to have Qatada extradited. Officials in antiterrorism in Europe and the U.S. have said the cleric is considered a key operative in al Qaeda and he was posing a serious risk to the country’s national security.

Qatada is a Palestinian originally from Jordan and was sentenced in absentia in 1999 by Jordan to a life sentence for his involvement in terrorist acts.

Qatada whose given name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman spent a number of years in Britain jails but was never charged in UK court with a crime.

He won repeated appeals while in Britain by courts in Britain and Europe blocking his extradition. He argued that if returned back to Jordan, he would face an unfair trial because he would become susceptible to torture and evidence authorities obtained while he was tortured could be used in court against him.

However, the path for his departure was cleared after Jordan and Britain ratified in June a treaty on torture that is intended to address concerns on human rights.

As soon as Qatada arrived in Jordan, he was taken to a nearby court. It is unclear what the court decided.

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