British government challenges Abu Qatada ruling

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Associated Press

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 5:33 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 3 at 5:36 AM

LONDON (AP) — The British government is challenging a court ruling that it cannot deport to Jordan the radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada, who has been described by prosecutors as a key al-Qaida operative in Europe.

Britain's High Court blocked extradition last month, saying it was not convinced the cleric would receive a fair trial in Jordan.

The Home Office said Monday it is appealing the court's decision, but gave no details.

Britain has attempted since 2001 to remove Abu Qatada, who was convicted in his absence in Jordan over terror plots in 1999 and 2000, but has been repeatedly thwarted by European and British courts.

The cleric, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, was freed after nearly a decade in prison following the ruling.

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