[JURIST] Radical cleric Abu Qatada [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was deported Sunday 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, but he will now face a retrial. Jordan’s Military State Security Court prosecutor has ordered that Qatada be detained for 15 days [Reuters report] pending further questioning. Qatada’s lawyer has stated that Qatada denies the charges and plans to post bail.
Qatada, previously described as “Osama Bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe,” has been held in the UK for more than a decade since he was arrested in 2002 under the anti-terrorism act. Last month, Jordan’s Parliament approved a treaty [JURIST report] with the UK that led to his deportation. 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) 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.