Abu Qatada begins terror trial in Jordan by complaining about HIS rights, saying the deportation deal he struck with Britain has been ‘violated’
- Radical hate-preacher Abu Qatada on trial after deportation to Jordan
- He is on trial for terrorism charges for two foiled attacks in 1999 and 2000
- Qatada stopped Amman court for 30 minutes, refusing to recognise it
By Sara Malm
PUBLISHED: 13:29, 10 December 2013 |
On trial: Abu Qatada, pictured outside his west London home before his deportation, protested against the setup of the court in Jordan
Radical hate-preacher Abu Qatada has refused to answer questions during his terrorism trial in Jordan as he claims the court setup ‘violates’ the deportation deal with Britain.
Qatada, who was deported earlier his year, is charged with plotting terror attacks against several Western nations in two foiled attempts in 1999 and 2000.
The 53-year-old was sentenced to life in prison in absentia for the crimes, but upon his deportation in July, the sentences had to be re-tried.
Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, has been described in British court as a senior Al Qaeda figure in Europe with close ties to the late Osama bin Laden.
Britain accused him of links with Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States over 9/11, and ‘shoe bomber’ Richard Reid.
Audio recordings of Qatada’s sermons were found in an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, used by some of the 9/11 hijackers.
On his arrival in Amman on July 7, Jordanian prosecutors charged him with conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Jordan twice.
The first attacks was planned in 1999 against the American school in the Jordanian capital, and another time in 2000 for allegedly targeting Israeli and American tourists and Western diplomats during Jordan’s Millennium celebrations.
On Tuesday, the tribunal – consisting of two civilian judges and a military one – said the cases will be heard separately, and proceeded with the hearing in the case involving Israeli and American tourists.
However, Abu Qatada objected to the presence of the military judge and said it violated the agreement with Britain that paved way for his extradition to Jordan.
Wearing a dark brown prison uniform, Abu Qatada appeared defiant as he stood in the dock, pleading not guilty. Later, he asked for a microphone and addressed the tribunal.
‘I will not answer questions by this court because I do not recognize its jurisdiction,’ he said. ‘This tribunal includes a military judge and this is a violation of the deal with Britain that encouraged me to return home for re-trial.’
The presiding judge halted the hearing for 30 minutes after Qatada’s protests, before continuing and although the court had planned to hear the other case, proceedings were adjourned until Christmas Eve.
Before his deportation, Abu Qatada questioned the impartiality of Jordan’s military court, an issue which had previously delayed his return to Jordan for years.
Not until after Jordan and Britain ratified their treaty on torture in June, did the radical preacher voluntarily accepted to return to Jordan for a re-trial.
Abu Qatada arrived in Britain on a forged passport in 1993 after fleeing a Jordanian government crackdown on militants. He was granted asylum a year later, but he eventually wore out his welcome because of his suspected militant activities, which allegedly included raising funds to finance terror plots in Jordan.
British authorities first tried to deport Abu Qatada in 2001, then detained him a year later under anti-terrorism laws, which at the time allowed suspected terrorists to be jailed without charge.
He was released in 2005 when the unpopular law was overturned, and kept under close surveillance and detained in various ways, until his extradition to Jordan in July this year.