British panel: Qatada can't be deported

Nov. 12, 2012 at 12:41 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Britain's Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled in favor of radical cleric Abu Qatada in his appeal against being deported to Jordan, officials said.

Qatada was convicted in absentia in Jordan for conspiring to blow up Western and Israeli targets in 1998 and 1999. If returned to Jordan, he could face a retrial.

British government officials said they would appeal the ruling issued Monday by the commission, the BBC reported.

"We have obtained assurances not just in relation to the treatment of Qatada himself but about the quality of the legal processes that would be followed throughout his trial," the Home Office said in a statement. "Indeed, today's ruling found that 'the Jordanian judiciary, like [its] executive counterparts, [is] determined to ensure that the appellant will receive, and be seen to receive, a fair retrial.'"

The commission had to decide whether Jordanian officials provided sufficient assurances the country won't use evidence obtained by torturing one of Qatada's co-defendants at his retrial. Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights determined a high probability existed that evidence obtained by torture would be used at any retrial.

The Home Office said videotapes of Qatada's sermons influenced Mohamed Atta, one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

The BBC reported Qatada's legal team was working on a bail application to try to get the Muslim cleric released from prison.

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