Abu Qatada, the radical preacher once described as Osama bin Laden's “right-hand man” in Europe, was on Tuesday rearrested as the British government resumed deportation proceedings against him after getting assurances from Jordan where he is wanted on terror charges that he would get a fair trial and that evidence obtained from other witnesses through torture would not be used to prosecute him.
Mr. Qatada (51) had been on bail since February following his release from six years of detention without trial after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) blocked his deportation on grounds that evidence gained through torture could be used against him jeopardising his human rights.
This touched off a flurry of negotiations and Home Secretary Theresa May travelled to Jordan to reach a deal that would satisfy the court.
On Tuesday, she told Parliament that an agreement had been reached whereby Mr. Qatada could be deported “under the full compliance of the law”. The Government now had the “material'' to satisfy the courts.
“We can soon put Qatada on a plane and get him out of our country for good,” she told MPs amid cheers.
Describing him as a “dangerous man'' and a risk to national security, Ms. May said he “deserves to face justice''. The government had been trying to deport him for 10 years and had confidence in its “eventual success''.
But she warned that it could still take time as Mr. Qatada could appeal.
Within hours, his lawyers indicated that they would challenge his deportation. It means that it could take months before he could be deported.
Earlier, after his arrest he was told that the government intended to deport him on or around April 30.
Mr. Qatada, whose real name is Omar Othman, fled to Britain in 1993 after claiming that he was tortured by Jordanian authorities. He was convicted in absentia for his alleged involvement in two major terrorism plots in Jordan but he claimed that the convictions were based on evidence obtained by torturing his co-defendants.
Keywords: Abu Qatada arrest