Jordan seeks 'credibility, transparency' in Abu Qatada case: minister
The Jordanian government said on Sunday it seeks "credibility and transparency" in dealing with the case of Abu Qatada after Britain deported the radical Islamist cleric to Amman to face trial on terror charges.
"The government is keen on credibility and transparency in handling the issue of Abu Qatada," who was flown out of Britain at 0146 GMT on Sunday, information minister and government spokesman Mohammad Momani, told the state-run Petra news agency.
"The deportation of Abu Qatada, which came as a result of Jordanian-British coordination and cooperation sends a message to all fugitives that they will face justice in Jordan," the spokesman added.
The Palestinian-born preacher, 53, was taken from prison in an armoured police van to a military airfield on the outskirts of London, where he boarded a privately chartered jet that lifted off into the night sky, AFP photographers said.
"Laws in the kingdom ensure fair trial of suspects. Jordanian courts enjoy integrity and respect human rights," Momani said.
Jordanian officials said they expected Abu Qatada to arrive in Amman later Sunday morning, with the flight taking around five hours.
He is expected to be handed over to military prosecutors upon his arrival in an airport in Amman.
Abu Qatada was condemned to death in 1999 for conspiracy to carry out terror attacks including on the American school in Amman but the sentence was immediately reduced to life imprisonment with hard labour.
In 2000, still in absentia, he was sentenced to 15 years for plotting to carry out terror attacks on tourists during the millennium celebrations in Jordan.
His deportation came after Jordan and Britain formally approved the so-called "Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters."
The treaty does not specifically mention Abu Qatada, but gives guarantees for cases like his, laying out statutory safeguards against the use of any testimony obtained under duress.
© 2013 AFP