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Radical cleric will go to Jordan when 'fair trial' guaranteed

RADICAL cleric Abu Qatada will leave Britain voluntarily if a new law banning the use of torture evidence in Jordan is passed, his barrister has revealed.

Government attempts to rid the country of the 52-year-old have been repeatedly thwarted by the courts because judges have been unhappy with assurances from Jordan that he would receive a fair trial.

But last month the UK home secretary Theresa May revealed that a treaty had been agreed with the Arab kingdom which would offer guarantees that torture evidence would not be used against Qatada (real name Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman).

Yesterday, British prime minister David Cameron remained "absolutely determined to put Abu Qatada on a plane back to Jordan".

At a hearing before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), Edward Fitzgerald for Qatada said: "There has been a development in the form of a treaty signed on March 24.

"That treaty is clearly designed to meet the requirements laid down by Mr Justice Mitting as to evidence admissible at a retrial, if there is a retrial. If and when the Jordanian parliament ratifies the treaty, Mr Othman (Qatada) will voluntarily return to Jordan.

"For a long period, he has made it clear he wishes to leave lawfully."

Qatada was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999 in Jordan and has been regularly imprisoned in Britain since he was first detained under anti-terrorism laws in 2002.

Last November SIAC upheld his appeal against deportation from the UK and released him on bail.

Qatada is currently in Belmarsh prison having broken his bail conditions and been rearrested two months ago. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent