Radical cleric pleads not guilty to terrorism charges in Jordan

Radical cleric pleads not guilty to terrorism charges in Jordan

PanARMENIAN.Net - Radical cleric Abu Qatada has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges in a court in Jordan, BBC News reported.

He is accused of involvement in a series of bombings in 1998 and a terrorist plot that was foiled in 2000. Palestinian-Jordanian Abu Qatada - real name Omar Othman - was previously convicted of the offences in his absence and sentenced to life imprisonment but is now being re-tried.

His eight-year legal battle to stay in the UK ended in July.

"You know full well I am not guilty and that this accusation is false," Abu Qatada told a brief hearing in Amman.

The judge adjourned the case until Dec 24.

At the start of proceedings, Abu Qatada objected to the presence of a military judge at the hearing. He said it violated an agreement with the UK, which led to his extradition, ensuring he had a fair trial.

Attempts to deport him from the UK began in 2005 but were repeatedly prevented by judges concerned about his human rights. He eventually gave up his legal challenges and was flown to Jordan in July.

Speaking about his departure, British Home Secretary Theresa May said the UK government had been "vindicated" after its long fight to deport him.

Since arriving in Jordan, Abu Qatada has been held in a high-security prison in a remote desert area. He could face 15 years in prison if convicted.

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