Jordan pledges 'fair' trial for Abu Qatada

AFP , Wednesday 15 Feb 2012

Jordanian government urges Britain to extradite radical cleric Abu Qatada, pledging to give him a fair and transparent trial

Jordan has given assurances to Britain that Islamist cleric Abu Qatada, once dubbed an aide to Osama bin Laden, will get a "fair" trial if London extradites him to the kingdom, a government official said on Wednesday.

"Jordan has reassured British Home Office Minister James Brokenshire that it is committed to protecting the legal rights of Jordanian citizen Abu Qatada," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"If Britain extradites Abu Qatada to Jordan, he will receive a fair and transparent trial."

Brokenshire was meeting on Wednesday with Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh following talks Tuesday with Legislative Affairs Minister Ayman Odeh to "discuss the possibility of extraditing Abu Qatada," the official added.

The British minister flew to Amman after Prime Minister David Cameron spoke with Jordan's King Abdullah II last week about finding an "effective solution" to the case.

One of Abu Qatada's brothers told AFP that the Islamist cleric had asked his family "to avoid giving statements in order not to affect the procedures."

Britain has been trying to extradite Abu Qatada to Jordan for the past six years, claiming he is a serious risk to national security, but its efforts have been thwarted on human rights grounds.

Abu Qatada, 51, was released from a British prison on Monday on extremely tight bail conditions after spending most of the last six years in jail without charge during London's bid to deport him.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg ruled last month that Britain cannot deport the Jordanian to his homeland because evidence used against him in any trial there may have been obtained through torture.

Abu Qatada, once labelled late Al-Qaeda chief bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe by a Spanish judge, was convicted in Jordan in his absence of involvement in terror attacks in 1998.

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