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UK deports radical cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
July 7, 2013 -- Updated 0348 GMT (1148 HKT)
Abu Qatada, shown in November 2012, was convicted in absentia in Jordan in 1999 on conspiracy charges.
Abu Qatada, shown in November 2012, was convicted in absentia in Jordan in 1999 on conspiracy charges.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Jordan will hold a fair trial for Qatada for alleged terrorist attacks
  • He was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to cause explosions
  • Britain has been trying to deport Abu Qatada since 2005
  • Videos of his sermons were found in an apartment used by some involved in 9/11 attacks

(CNN) -- Radical cleric Abu Qatada was deported early Sunday by Britain to Jordan, where he is wanted on terror charges, the British Home Office said. The move ended a years-long legal battle to force the Jordanian national to leave the country.

Abu Qatada was tried and convicted in absentia in Jordan in 1999 on two charges of conspiracy to cause explosions, court documents say. Britain has been trying to deport Abu Qatada since 2005, but his legal appeals have kept him in the country.

Jordan will hold a fair trial for Qatada for alleged terrorist attacks in 1999 and 2000, government spokesman Mohammed Al-momani told the official Petra News Agency.

The constitution will guarantee respect for human rights, he said.

"His departure marks the conclusion of efforts to remove him since 2001 and I believe this will be welcomed by the British public," Home Secretary Theresa May said in a written statement.

"I am glad that this government's determination to see him on a plane has been vindicated and that we have at last achieved what previous governments, Parliament and the British public have long called for. This dangerous man has now been removed from our shores to face the courts in his own country."

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.

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 UK 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.

He was ordered back to prison in April 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 Mitra Mobasherat and Antonia Mortensen contributed to this report.

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