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Cleric Abu Qatada may leave Britain voluntarily - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this file picture taken on November 13, 2012 terror suspect Abu Qatada arrives at his home in northwest London , after he was released from prison. (AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE)

In this file picture taken on November 13, 2012, terror suspect Abu Qatada arrives at his home in northwest London after he was released from prison. (AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIE)

London, Reuters—Radical cleric Abu Qatada will return to Jordan voluntarily if the Jordanian parliament ratifies a deal with Britain that ensures he will receive a fair trial, the cleric’s lawyer said on Friday.

Britain’s government has for years tried to deport Abu Qatada, who is accused of being Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, but judges have repeatedly blocked his removal on grounds he could receive an unfair trial, embarrassing the government.

Abu Qatada has never been charged with an offence in Britain, but faces terrorism charges in Jordan.

Judges say they fear evidence obtained through torture may be used against him in Jordan. Britain signed a new treaty last month with Jordan, aimed at addressing those concerns.

“If and when the Jordanian parliament ratifies that treaty, Mr. Othman [Abu Qatada] will voluntarily return to Jordan,” Edward Fitzgerald, a lawyer representing him, told a British court.

The hearing was related to the cleric’s arrest in March for having mobile phones and other communications equipment in his home, a breach of his bail conditions.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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