Home Secretary Theresa May will visit Jordan in soon as the Government continues to try to find ways to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada, she revealed yesterday.
Qatada has been released from jail under strict bail conditions while the Government seeks assurances that evidence gained through torture would not be used in any trial against him if he were sent back.
But the 51-year-old cleric, once described by a judge as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, could be freed from his bail terms in just three months if Mrs May fails to show significant progress is being made in the talks.
Mrs May said: “The Home Office Minister for Crime and Security, James Brokenshire MP, has led useful discussions with the Jordanian authorities and talks with officials will continue.
“The UK and Jordan remain committed to ensuring that Abu Qatada must face justice and are pursuing all options with regard to his deportation and it is my intention to travel back to continue those negotiations shortly.”
Qatada was released from Long Lartin high-security jail in Worcestershire, on Monday after applying for bail when human rights judges in Europe ruled he could not be deported without assurances from Jordan that evidence gained through torture would not be used against him.
The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled that sending Qatada back without such assurances would be a “flagrant denial of justice”.
Mr Brokenshire visited the Jordanian capital Amman this week, and Mrs May said the discussions “will continue”.