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European Court Rules Cleric Cannot Be Deported From Britain


Abu Qatada, aka Omar Othman

Abu Qatada, aka Omar Othman

Europe's top court has ruled that an extremist Islamist preacher cannot be deported from Britain to face terrorism charges in Jordan.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled that Abu Qatada cannot be deported because of the risk that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him.

Abu Qatada -- whose real name is Omar Othman -- is one of the most influential Islamist preachers in Europe, whom British authorities accuse of advising terrorists and raising money for terrorism.

A Palestinian-Jordanian citizen, he arrived in Britain in 1993.

He has never faced trial in Britain, but has been held in police custody or under police surveillance.

U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May said she was disappointed by the ruling and the government would consider appealing the European Court's decision.

compiled from agency reports

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