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Terrorism

Cleric linked to 9/11 dodges deportation in Britain

A court in Britain has thwarted the government's efforts to deport Abu Qatada, a radical Islamist cleric who is wanted on terrorism charges in Jordan. The court argues his right to a fair trial in Jordan is in jeopardy.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 13: Muslim Cleric Abu Qatada arrives home after being released from prison on November 13, 2012 in London, England. Abu Qatada was released on bail, having won his appeal against deportation, claiming he would not get a fair trial in Jordan where he is accused of plotting bomb attacks. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Abu Qatada Prediger Entlassung aus Gefängnis Großbritannien

The announcement from the three judges of Britain's Court of Appeal on Wednesday stated that while they consider Qatada to be dangerous, his right to a fair trial under the European Convention on Human Rights could not be guaranteed.

There are concerns that some statements from witnesses who were subject to torture may be used in his trial, which would make his deportation illegal according to European law.

"The court recognizes that [Qatada] is regarded as a very dangerous person but emphasizes that this is not a relevant consideration under the applicable Convention law," the court said.

The decision by the Court of Appeals upholds a previous ruling from the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which blocked Qatada's deportation in November.

British Home Secretary Theresa May has been actively pushing for Qatada's deportation and had received assurances from Jordan that he would receive a fair trial if he was deported.

"This is not the end of the road, and the government remains determined to deport Abu Qatada," the Home Office said in a statement.

Qatada is believed to be linked to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States. It is also believed he had ties to former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Qatada has been in and out of prison in Britain since 2002, and was jailed earlier this month for allegedly violating the terms of his house arrest.

mz/mkg (Reuters, AP, AFP)