Abu Qatada trial to begin in Amman in 10 days
Radical cleric Abu Qatada is due to start his trial over terror charges following his deportation from Britain within 10 days, a Jordanian judicial source said Sunday.
“The state security court is scheduled to hear the first sittings in the trial of the radical Islamist Abu Qatada within the next 10 days, after the state prosecutor has finished investigating” Qatada's alleged involvement in attacks in the kingdom, the source said on condition of anonymity, according to AFP.
Military prosecutors in Jordan charged Abu Qatada with conspiracy to enact terrorism after British authorities deported him from London in July.
If he is found guilty of the terror charges, then the radical cleric could face a minimum sentence of 15 years hard labour in Jordan, the source told AFP.
The source added that Abu Qatada's trial would be public and media would be granted access to the courthouse.
Abu Qatada is currently incarcerated in Muwaqqar prison, a maximum security jail in the desert east of Amman that houses more than 1,000 inmates, most of them Islamists convicted of terror offences, AFP reported.
The cleric was condemned to death in absentia in 1999 for conspiring to commit terror attacks, including on the American school in Amman, but the charges were immediately changed to life imprisonment with hard labour, according to AFP.
He was sentenced in his absence to 15 years in 2000 for plotting terrorist attacks on tourists celebrating the millenium in Jordan.
Abu Qatada has the opportunity to stand trial over these charges due to Jordanian law giving the right to retrial, AFP reported.
Born Omar Mahmud Mohammed Otman in Bethlehem in the now Israeli-occupied West Bank, Abu Qatada has Jordanian nationality because the town was part of Jordan at the time of his birth, AFP reports.