Last updated: 10 February, 2012

Jordan to contest Abu Qatada extradition ruling

Jordan will contest a European Court of Human Rights ban on Britain extraditing Islamist cleric Abu Qatada, who is wanted in Jordan in connection with two 1998 attacks, an official said on Friday.

The court ruled that Britain cannot deport the 51-year-old Jordanian because evidence used against him in any trial in the Arab kingdom may have been obtained through torture.

Jordan will “will contest in writing the European decision … promising to offer every guarantee of a fair trial in the kingdom,” state news agency Petra quoted government spokesman Rakan al-Majali as saying.

“Constitutional reforms instituted last year prohibit all forms of torture or physical or psychological abuse” in the country, he added.

On Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke with King Abdullah II about finding an “effective solution” to the case.

Abu Qatada, allegedly a former top aide of late Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, has been fighting British attempts to deport him to Jordan for more than six years, most of which he has spent in detention without charge.

On Monday, a British judge ordered Abu Qatada released under strict bail conditions despite government concerns that he poses a security risk.

Cameron and King Abdullah “discussed the ECHR ruling on Abu Qatada and the prime minister explained the frustrating and difficult position that the ruling had created for the UK,” a spokesman for the British prime minister’s office said.

“The prime minister complimented the king on the close and effective collaboration between Britain and Jordan on this case over a number of years, and noted that the court had endorsed the UK-Jordanian memorandum of understanding on deportation with assurances.”