Trial of radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada begins in Amman
The trial of radical Islamist cleric Omar Mohammad Othman, better known as Abu Qatada, will begin at the State Security Court (SSC) on Tuesday before a civilian panel, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Civilian Judge Ahmad Qatarneh will be presiding over the proceedings.
Abu Qatada will be tried on two cases. The first is known as “the reform and challenge group” case for which he was condemned to death in absentia in 1999 for conspiracy to carry out terror attacks, including on the American school in Amman, but the sentence was immediately commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour.
In 2000, he was sentenced in absentia to 15 years for plotting to carry out terror attacks on tourists in Jordan during millennium celebrations.
The law gives Abu Qatada the right to a retrial with him present in the dock.
It was in July this year that the 53-year-old Abu Qatada was extradited from Britain to Jordan after the governments of the two countries approved a treaty paving the way for his deportation, ending almost seven years of litigation.
Upon his arrival, the SSC prosecutors charged him with “conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts”. He entered a not-guilty plea to the charges.