Britain spent more then $1 million defending cleric

June 15, 2013 at 3:20 PM

LONDON, June 15 (UPI) -- The British government spent more than $1 million defending a radical Muslim clergyman in his long fight against deportation.

Abu Qatada received 865,000 pounds in legal aid ($1.35 million) in his court fight, which he decided to abandon last month, a member of Parliament said this week.

"I am shocked that Abu Qatada's legal costs alone could have employed 90 new constables for a year," said Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee in the House of Commons.

Qatada is wanted on terrorism charges in his home country of Jordan. He has been described as a close lieutenant of Osama bin Laden in Europe, The Daily Telegraph said Saturday.

A fraction of the cost was recovered from Qatada's seized assets; however at the same time, the cost of the government's deportation efforts added to the total tab.

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