Abu Qatada, deported by Britain, pleads not guilty to terrorism

Dec. 10, 2013 at 10:02 AM
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AMMAN, Jordan, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Radical cleric Abu Qatada, deported to Jordan after a 10-year legal battle in Britain, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts.

"You know full well I am not guilty and that this accusation is false," he told the Amman security court.

Qatada and his attorney contested the presence of a military judge on the panel of three judges who will try the case, Middle East Online reported.

The case was adjourned until Dec. 24.

Britain deported Qatada after signing a treaty that would prevent evidence obtained using torture from being admitted at trial.

Qatada, who was born in Palestine, was absent when he was condemned to death on the same charges in 1999 for the attack on the American school in Amman.

The sentence was later reduced to imprisonment with hard labor.

In 2000, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for planning attacks on tourists in Jordan but was absent again.

The law gives Qatada the right to be present at a retrial.

If convicted, Qatada faces a minimum sentence of 15 years of hard labor.

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