x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Family of alleged Al Qaeda-linked cleric Abu Qatada 'plans to move to Jordan'

The wife and children of cleric Abu Qatada, who faces trial on terror charges in Jordan following his deportation from Britain, are planning to move to Amman from London, friend says.

AMMAN // The wife and children of cleric Abu Qatada, who faces trial on terror charges in Jordan following his deportation from Britain, are planning to move to Amman from London, a family friend said yesterday.

"Abu Qatada's wife and five children want to leave Britain and come to Jordan. They are currently preparing for that," the family friend said, asking not to be named.

Military prosecutors on Sunday charged Abu Qatada, 53, with "conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts," just hours after his deportation from Britain. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

His lawyer Taysir Diab said the military state security court would on Wednesday make its decision on a bail application.

"He is in good condition and is receiving good treatment. His mother and other members of his family here are visiting him in prison," Diab said.

Abu Qatada has been remanded for 15 days in the Muwaqqar prison, a maximum security facility built in 2007 that houses 1,100 inmates, most of them Islamists convicted of terrorism offences.

He was condemned to death in absentia in 1999 for conspiracy to carry out terror attacks, including on the American school in Amman, but the sentence was immediately commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour.

In 2000, he was sentenced in his absence to 15 years for plotting to carry out terror attacks on tourists in Jordan during millennium celebrations.

Jordanian law gives him the right to a retrial with him present in the dock.

Britain's expulsion of the Palestinian-born preacher came after Amman and London last month ratified a treaty, guaranteeing that evidence obtained by torture would not be used in his retrial, ending a decade-long legal battle after

He was born Omar Mahmud Mohammed Otman in Bethlehem in the now Israeli-occupied West Bank, which was part of Jordan at the time of his birth.