Jordan pledges fair trial for Abu Qatada if deported
The judiciary would ensure a "fair trail" for Omar Mahmoud Othman, better known as Abu Qatada, if British authorities went ahead with measures to deport him to his Jordanian homeland, Jordan's Justice Minister Ayman Odeh said Wednesday, dpa reported.
"Jordanian legislation currently in force ensures a fair trial for Abu Qatada if the British government decided to deport him," Odeh said in an interview with the official Petra news agency.
Law Lords in the British Upper House of parliament ruled earlier Wednesday that Abu Qatada, suspected by western intelligence agencies of being al-Qaeda's spiritual leader in Europe, could be sent back to his native Jordan where he faces terror charges.
"The Jordanian government has been officially notified with the Law Lords' decision through diplomatic channels," the Jordanian minister said.
"However, Abu Qatada can appeal the verdict before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, a move that could defer the extradition of Abu Qatada pending the European court's decision," he added.
In an earlier ruling, judges in the British Court of Appeal said in April that it was not clear that Abu Qatada would receive a fair trial in Jordan, despite a "no-torture" guarantee given to the British government by the Jordanian authorities.
The Mosque preacher was initially detained by the British authorities in 2002, when the Special Immigration Appeals Commission described him as a "truly dangerous individual" who had been involved in activities associated with al-Qaeda.