Skip to main content

UK loses latest attempt to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada

By Laura Smith-Spark and Andrew Carey, CNN
March 28, 2013 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
Muslim Cleric Abu Qatada arrives home after being released from prison on November 13 in London, England.
Muslim Cleric Abu Qatada arrives home after being released from prison on November 13 in London, England.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • British government loses its latest bid to deport Abu Qatada, also known as Omar Othman
  • Home Secretary Theresa May has until April 17 to appeal the ruling
  • The radical cleric is accused of funding terrorist groups and inspiring one of the 9/11 hijackers
  • Abu Qatada denies the allegations against him and has long fought his deportation to Jordan

London (CNN) -- Try as it might, the British government just can't seem to get radical cleric Abu Qatada out of the UK.

The government lost another round Wednesday in its long-running attempt to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan.

The Court of Appeal in London denied the government's attempt to overturn a different panel's decision to keep Abu Qatada -- accused of raising money for terrorist groups and inspiring one of the 9/11 hijackers -- in Britain.

Home Secretary Theresa May has until April 17 to appeal the latest ruling.

"This is not the end of the road. Government remains determined to deport Abu Qatada," the official UK Home Office Twitter feed said.

Cleric case raises rights questions
Radical cleric Abu Qatada legal battles

"We will consider the judgment on Abu Qatada carefully and plan to seek leave to appeal.

"In the meantime we continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing Abu Qatada's deportation."

A Jordanian national, Abu Qatada is wanted in his home country and has been been tried and convicted in absentia on two charges of conspiracy to cause explosions, court documents say.

In January 2012, the European Court of Human Rights blocked Britain from sending him to Jordan because of fears that evidence obtained by torture could be used against him at the trial planned by the Middle Eastern country.

The Home Secretary decided last April that assurances given by the Jordanian government had eliminated that risk and ordered that his deportation go ahead.

But Abu Qatada appealed to the UK's Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which found in November that "there still existed a real risk of a flagrant denial of justice."

The Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that May's appeal against that SIAC ruling was not justified.

UK authorities accuse Abu Qatada of raising funds for terrorist groups, including organizations linked to the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and say he has publicly supported the violent activities of those groups.

Videos of his preaching were found in a German apartment used by some of those involved in the 9/11 attacks on the United States, including ringleader Mohammed Atta.

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.

Britain has been trying to deport Abu Qatada since 2005, but his legal appeals have kept him in the country.

He was ordered back to prison earlier this month after evidence suggested he had violated his bail conditions. These include an order that prohibits him from allowing cell phones to be turned on in his house, and a ban on devices such as rewritable CDs and flash drives.

CNN's Laura Perez Maestro contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT