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Jordan court denies bail to Abu Qatada

A Jordan military court on Sunday rejected a bail application by radical cleric Abu Qatada [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who faces terror charges in Jordan following his deportation from Britain. Abu Qatada was charged on July 7 with "conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts" following his deportation after Jordan's Parliament approved a treaty [JURIST report] with the UK. Qatada pleaded not guilty. The court did not give a reason [BBC report] for its rejection, though it is common for defendants to be denied bail in terrorism cases in Jordan. Qatada's lawyer said that he would be meeting with Qatada this week to decide on further action.

Qatada was deported earlier this month from London's Belmarsh prison to the prison of Muwaggar in Amman, Jordan. Qatada was previously sentenced in absentia to life in prison for conspiring to carry out al Qaeda [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] linked attacks in Jordan. Qatada, previously described as "Osama Bin Laden's right hand man in Europe," was held in the UK for more than a decade since he was arrested in 2002 under the anti-terrorism act. In April the UK Court of Appeals refused to allow the government to appeal to the Supreme Court an earlier decision not to deport [JURIST reports] Qatada until a fair trial treaty had been ratified, fearing Qatada would be tortured upon his return to Jordan. The UK Special Immigration Appeals Commission denied bail last year after Qatada was granted bail [JURIST reports] and rearrested to begin deportation proceedings. In February of 2009, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ordered the UK [JURIST report] to pay £2,500 in damages to Qataba after determining that he was imprisoned by the UK in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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