World Bulletin / News Desk
Muslim cleric Abu Qatada could be deported to Jordan to face trial on charges within weeks, a British court heard on Monday, and it ruled he should remain in jail in the meantime to prevent him from absconding.
Abu Qatada's deportation to Jordan, which the British government has been trying to achieve for eight years, is expected to take place within weeks when Jordan ratifies a new treaty with Britain, according to evidence shown to the court.
London says Abu Qatada, who is accused of spreading ideas that inspired one of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers, poses a national security risk, but he has never been charged with any offence in Britain.
The British courts have repeatedly blocked his deportation on the grounds that a trial in Jordan risked being tainted by evidence obtained using torture.
Britain announced last month it had signed a new treaty with Jordan aimed at addressing those concerns.
"There is a prospect of a treaty coming into force ... (that) raises the prospect of his acquittal relative to what we say are tainted charges," said Danny Friedman, a lawyer for Abu Qatada, during the bail application hearing.
Friedman said there was no risk Abu Qatada would abscond as he was satisfied that once the treaty was in force the safest thing for him and his family to do would be to return to Jordan to face trial.
Jordan convicted Abu Qatada in his absence of encouraging militants there who planned bomb attacks in 1999 and 2000, but under a 2005 agreement between Amman and London he will be retried if he eventually returns.
He has been in and out of jail in Britain since first being arrested in 2001 and in recent years has been living at a house in London under tight bail conditions including a 16-hour curfew and a ban on using any telecommunications equipment.Last Mod: 21 Mayıs 2013, 13:55