EU rights court halts terrorist’s extradition from BritainFebruary 20th, 2009 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS
Paris, Feb 20 (DPA) The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg confirmed Friday that it had halted the extradition of radical Muslim cleric and suspected Al Qaeda member Abu Qatada from Britain to Jordan.
The court decided to halt the extradition to examine Qatada’s claim that, contrary to declarations by the Jordanian government, he would be exposed to treatment, such as torture, that was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights if extradited.
In 2000, Qatada was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in Jordan for his involvement in a plot to bomb hotels during the Millennium celebrations.
He was arrested in Britain in August 2005 shortly after the deadly July bombings in London. In February 2007, a British court ruled that he can be extradited to Jordan.
Qatada won his appeal against extradition in April 2008 and was released on bail in May 2008. He was re-arrested in November last year for breaking bail conditions.
On Wednesday, Law Lords ruled that the 48-year-old Qatada could be extradited.
Qatada is suspected of having recruited the so-called “shoe bomber”, Richard Reed, and is wanted on terrorism charges in several countries, including Algeria, the US and Spain.
In the indictment of the Madrid Al Qaeda cell, he is described as the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda in Europe, as well as of several North African terrorist groups, including the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which is now known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.