A European court has cleared the way for Britain to extradite Islamist cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan, where he is wanted on charges of terrorism. Britain describes Qatada as a leading al Qaeda figure in Europe.
The European Court of Human Rights has rejected an appeal by radical Islamist preacher Abu Qatada against his extradition from Britain to Jordan, where he faces charges of terrorism.
The judges rejected Qatada's request for his case to be reviewed by a panel of the court's most senior judges. Britain classes Qatada as a national security risk and wants him deported before the start of the Olympic Games in London in June. Jordan has convicted Qatada twice in absentia for involvement in terrorism plots.
Allegedly leading figure
Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, has been described in several European courts as a leading al Qaeda figure in Europe. He has also been called "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe" by a Spanish judge.
Videos of the cleric's sermons were found in the Hamburg flat used by some of the hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks. He has also defended attacks on Americans and killing Jews.
He has been detained in the UK for most of the past decade. The European Court of Human Rights initially blocked his extradition, saying that evidence obtained from torture might be used against him on his return to Jordan.
But Jordan has said it will guarantee Qatada a fair trial and that no evidence obtained through torture could be used in any trial.
Britain's interior ministry, known as the Home Office, said on Wednesday another attempt to expel the cleric from the country would now be launched.
ng/ipj (Reuters, AFP, AP, Reuters)