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British Government Loses Appeal To Deport Muslim Cleric

Abu Qatada
The British government has lost its appeal against a court decision that allows radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada to remain in Britain.

Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmud Muhammad Othman, was convicted in absentia in Jordan for plotting terrorist attacks in 1999 and 2000.

Successive British governments have been unsuccessfully trying since 2001 to deport Abu Qatada, who prosecutors describe as a key Al-Qaeda operative in Europe.

On March 27, three Court of Appeal judges dismissed Home Secretary Theresa May's challenge to an immigration panel's decision to let Abu Qatada stay in Britain.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission had argued there was a danger that evidence obtained through torture in Jordan could be used against the cleric.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters