Jordan vows `credibility` as Britain sends Abu Qatada
Amman: Jordan on Sunday vowed "credibility and transparency" in dealing with radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada after Britain deported him to Amman to face terror charges, ending a nearly decade-long legal saga.
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.
"The government is keen on credibility and transparency in handling the issue of Abu Qatada," who was flown out of Britain at 0146 GMT today, Jordan`s 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."
Britain was finally able to expel the father-of-five, once dubbed Osama bin Laden`s deputy in Europe, after the two governments last month formally approved the so-called "Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters" treaty, guaranteeing that evidence obtained by torture would not be used against him in any retrial.
Home Secretary Theresa May said his departure proved that the government`s efforts to deport him had been worth the USD 2.7 million legal bill and would be "welcomed by the British public."
"This dangerous man has now been removed from our shores to face the courts in his own country," she said in a statement released seconds after Abu Qatada`s plane took off.
Jordanian officials said they expected him to arrive in Amman later today morning, with the flight taking around five hours, although they have not said what they will do with him when he does arrive.
"Laws in the kingdom ensure fair trial of suspects. Jordanian courts enjoy integrity and respect human rights," Momani said.
Abu Qatada is expected to be handed over to military prosecutors upon his arrival in an airport in Amman.
Television pictures showed Abu Qatada dressed in a white robe as he boarded the aircraft at the RAF Northolt base in west London. He had earlier left high security Belmarsh jail in southeast London in a blue armoured police van flanked by three police cars.
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.
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