Cleric Qatada Deported From U.K. After Decade-Long Legal Fight

Abu Qatada, an Islamic cleric facing terrorism charges in his home country of Jordan, was deported to the Mideast nation today, U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May said in a statement on the official government website.

“This dangerous man has now been removed from our shores to face the courts in his own country,” May said in the statement.

The British government failed in repeated attempts since 2001 to deport Qatada because of court rulings that evidence linked to torture might be used against him in Jordan. Qatada, whose real name is Mohammed Othman and who was 52 when he was re-arrested in March, has been in and out of U.K. jails for more than a decade.

The cleric, described by a judge in Spain as former al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, said in May he would return voluntarily if Jordan ratified a treaty promising him a fair trial. That took effect July 2.

In May, Qatada was denied bail by a London judge who called him a threat to national security.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net; Jim McDonald in Tokyo at jmcdonald8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stanley James at sjames8@bloomberg.net

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