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UK appeal to deport radical Islamist cleric dismissed

UK authorities' appeal to deport radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to Jordan was dismissed [text] on Wednesday after the Court of Appeal accepted arguments that Qatada would face testimony officials obtained via torture. Qatada is wanted in Jordan [AP report] on in absentia convictions of organizing and encouraging bomb attacks in 1999 and 2000. Qatada has successfully fought deportation in British and European courts, but the British government has indicated it will continue despite the dismissal from the Court of Appeal. The UK stated it would work in collaboration with Jordan to try to ensure that evidence obtained by torture not be used. Qatada was first detained under British anti-terrorism laws in 2002.

Palestinian-Jordanian Qatada has fought terrorism charges and extradition in court for more than a decade. In December 2012, UK authorities challenged a UK immigration decision that effectively blocked Jordanian extradition requests for Qatada. The UK Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) [official website] denied bail [JURIST report] to Qatada that May. In early February he was released on bail [JURIST report] but was arrested again in April to begin deportation proceedings. Qatada was granted political asylum by the UK in 1994. He was arrested in 2001 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1989 and later that year went into hiding to avoid being arrested and detained under the then-proposed Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. He was arrested again in 2002 and held until March 2005. In February 2009 the ECHR ordered the UK to pay 2,500 in damages [JURIST report] to Qatada after determining that his imprisonment violated the European Convention on Human Rights. Despite his previous grant of asylum and fears of torture and persecution, UK Law Lords in February 2009 ruled that Qatada could be returned [JURIST report] to Jordan to face terrorism charges. The February decision overruled an April 2008 Court of Appeal decision blocking his deportation [JURIST report].

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