x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

European court blocks extradition by UK of alleged Bin Laden aide

The court in its judgement said there was a "real risk" that evidence against Abu Qatada had been "obtained by torture of third persons" in custody in Jordan.

Abu Qatada, a radical British-based cleric, won his appeal not to be extradited to his native Jordan at the European Court of Human Rights.
Abu Qatada, a radical British-based cleric, won his appeal not to be extradited to his native Jordan at the European Court of Human Rights.

STRASBOURG // The European Court of Human Rights blocked the extradition by Britain of Jordanian national Abu Qatada, who is alleged to have been Osama bin Laden's right-hand-man in Europe.

The court in its judgement said there was a "real risk" that evidence against Abu Qatada, a radical British-based Muslim cleric, had been "obtained by torture of third persons" in custody in Jordan.

The court "finds that there is a real risk that the applicant's retrial would amount to a flagrant denial of justice" - a violation of Article 6 of the Convention on Human Rights.

Abu Qatada, once labelled the bin Laden's right-hand-man in Europe by a Spanish judge, maintained he faced torture in his homeland after being sentenced in his absence to life imprisonment for terrorism offences.

Abu Qatada, also known as Omar Mohammed Othman, is included on a UN list of people associated with the presumed perpetrators of the September 11 attacks.

Jordan says Abu Qatada, who has had political asylum in Britain since 1993, conspired to carry out 1998 bombings in Amman on the American School and the Jerusalem Hotel.

He also funded a terrorist network known as Al Islah Wal Tahhadi (Reform and Challenge) which was dismantled in 1999, but received an amnesty for those charges.

Amman has repeatedly urged London to extradite him.