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Radical preacher Abu Qatada wins appeal

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published November 12, 2012 at 7:09 a.m. Updated November 12, 2012 at 9:17 a.m.

— A radical Islamist cleric described by prosecutors as a key al-Qaida operative in Europe cannot be deported from Britain to Jordan to face terrorism charges, judges ruled Monday in the latest twist in a protracted legal saga.

Britain’s government has been attempting since 2001 to expel radical preacher Abu Qatada, who has previously been convicted in his absence in Jordan of terrorist offenses related to two alleged bomb plots.

Though the country’s Home Office said it intended to appeal against the decision, Judge John Mitting granted the cleric bail and said he would be freed from prison Tuesday — despite a claim from a government lawyer that he poses a major security theat.

Abu Qatada, a Palestinian-born Jordanian cleric whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, was convicted in Jordan over terror plots in 1999 and 2000, and he will face a retrial if deported there from Britain.

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