UK moves to deport alleged terror fund-raiser Abu Qatada

Radical cleric to leave UK prison
Radical cleric to leave UK prison

    JUST WATCHED

    Radical cleric released from UK jail

MUST WATCH

Radical cleric released from UK jail 05:53

Story highlights

  • Lawyer: Too early to say when Abu Qatada will return to Jordan
  • UK can deport Abu Qatada in full compliance with the law, home secretary says
  • British authorities accuse the radical cleric of links to al Qaeda
  • The European Court of Human Rights blocked the deportation earlier this year

British authorities have arrested Abu Qatada, whom they describe as an inspiration to terrorists that include one of the hijackers who struck on September 11, 2001, the Home Office said Tuesday.

The United Kingdom will resume efforts to deport him to Jordan, the government said.

Britain views Abu Qatada as a national security threat, but the European Court of Human Rights barred the country from deporting him because evidence gained from torture could be used against him in Jordan, where he has been convicted in absentia of involvement in terrorist conspiracies.

But Jordan has outlined a number of conditions that Home Secretary Theresa May said means the deportation could now go ahead.

Qatada will be tried in public before civilian judges, and the existing conviction against him will be quashed, she told British lawmakers Tuesday.

"The assurances and information that the government has secured from Jordan mean that we can undertake deportation in full compliance with the law and with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights," said May in a statement to the House of Commons.

"Deportation might still take time -- the proper processes must be followed and the rule of law must take precedence -- but today Qatada has been arrested and the deportation process is under way."

Jordanian Justice Minister Ibrahim Aljazy had said after Britain announced the arrest that Jordan would detain Abu Qatada and give him a full trial when he arrived in the country.

The two countries have been in talks since the Court of Human Rights ruling earlier this year. Both sides want him sent to Jordan.

But he can still appeal to stop his deportation, a process that could take months, May said.

Assem Rababah, a lawyer representing Abu Qatada in Jordan, told CNN it was too early to judge when his deportation might occur, as British legal proceedings were still ongoing.

Jordan wants Qatada to return 'home'
Jordan wants Qatada to return 'home'

    JUST WATCHED

    Jordan wants Qatada to return 'home'

MUST WATCH

Jordan wants Qatada to return 'home' 02:31
PLAY VIDEO
British dilemma over Abu Qatada release
British dilemma over Abu Qatada release

    JUST WATCHED

    British dilemma over Abu Qatada release

MUST WATCH

British dilemma over Abu Qatada release 01:21
PLAY VIDEO
Radical cleric to leave UK prison
Radical cleric to leave UK prison

    JUST WATCHED

    Radical cleric to leave UK prison

MUST WATCH

Radical cleric to leave UK prison 02:23
PLAY VIDEO

He said that when the deportation order was final, a team of officials and doctors would travel from Jordan to Britain to assess Abu Qatada's mental and physical health.

Abu Qatada was released from a high security prison on bail in February.

He had been imprisoned in Britain for six years while the government worked to send him to Jordan, where he holds citizenship.

The British government claims Abu Qatada has raised money for terrorist groups, including organizations linked to former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and has publicly supported the violent activities of those groups.

Abu Qatada has denied the allegations against him.

Also known as Omar Othman, Abu Qatada arrived in the United Kingdom in 1993 and applied for asylum on the grounds that he had been tortured by Jordanian authorities. He came to Britain on a forged United Arab Emirates passport, according to court documents, and claimed asylum for himself, his wife and their three children.

The British government recognized him as a refugee and allowed him to stay in the country until 1998.

Abu Qatada applied to stay indefinitely, but while his application was pending, a Jordanian court convicted him in absentia on charges related to two 1998 terrorist attacks and a plot to plant bombs to coincide with the millennium.

He was released briefly in 2005 after the repeal of the anti-terrorism law on which he was being held. British authorities ordered his renewed detention that year under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, according to the European Court of Human Rights.

        CNN recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        North Korea nuclear dream video

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photos: Faces of the world

        Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        How to fix a soccer match

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.