x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Theresa May discusses Abu Qatada extradition issue in Jordan

The UK home secretary holds talks with her Jordanian counterpart on the extradition of Abu Qatada, once dubbed an aide of Osama bin Laden, who faces terror charges in Jordan.

AMMAN // Britain's interior minister held talks with her Jordanian counterpart yesterday on the extradition of Abu Qatada, once dubbed an aide of Osama bin Laden, who faces terror charges in Jordan.

Theresa May, the UK home secretary, and Jordan's interior minister, Mohammed Raud, "discussed the issue of Abu Qatada", a British embassy official said. "British and Jordanian officials continue to discuss the matter. It is a complicated and sensitive legal issue."

Mrs May announced her visit to Jordan last month, saying London and Amman were "pursuing all options with regard to [Qatada's] deportation".

Qatada, 51, whom a Spanish judge once labelled the right-hand man of bin Laden, was convicted in Jordan in his absence of involvement in terror attacks in 1998 and faces a retrial on his return.

Britain has been trying to extradite the Islamist cleric for the past six years, claiming he is a serious risk to national security, but its efforts have been thwarted on human rights grounds.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in January that Britain cannot deport Qatada because evidence used against him in any trial in Jordan may have been obtained through torture.

Amman said in February it has given assurances to London that Qatada will get a "fair and transparent" trial if London extradites him to the kingdom.

Jordan's state-run Petra news agency, meanwhile, did not report on the Qatada issue, saying that Mrs May "is keen to boost cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the field of intelligence exchange".