Cleric protests moved back from his house

Feb. 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM
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LONDON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A British judge has warned those conducting weekly protests against a radical Islamic cleric to stay back after his family said they feared for their lives.

Abu Qatada, once called Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, has been ordered to remain in a taxpayer-funded house while lawyers sort out whether he can stand trial on terrorism-related charges or be deported from England back to his native Jordan. At issue is whether evidence against Qatada was obtained after informants were tortured, The Guardian said Monday.

As the case drags on, protesters shouting threats weekly have swarmed the house where Qatada lives with his wife and five children, the youngest age 11.

"There was powerful evidence from the claimants of weekly demonstrations with much shouting of abuse such as 'Abu Qatada off our streets,' 'All Muslims are terrorists,' 'Murdering scumbag,' 'Go back to Jordan,' 'Just murder him' and 'Forget all this just kill him,'" the judge said in his ruling which ordered protesters to remain at least 1,600 feet (about 500 meters) away from the house.

He said some of the chanting and shouting had lasted up to six hours.

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