The Jordanian King has agreed on a treaty promising a fair trial of an Islamic cleric once he is deported from Britain.
King Abdulah II has agreed with the British government to give Abu Qatada a fair trial once he is extradited back to Jordan.
The UK-Jordan Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance will become law once the document is published in the Jordanian government’s official publication. The treaty is expected to be passed by MPs and become law on Friday.
Abu Qatada has indicated that he will not challenge deportation if the treaty is passed because the document guarantees him a fair trial in Jordan. Home Secretary Theresa May would be able to issue a new deportation order and the cleric will have a few days to respond if he wishes.
Abu Qatada’s deportation is expected to resume once the treaty passes the legal process in both countries.
The British government has been trying to deport Abu Qatada since 2005, and he has been imprisoned and released on numerous occasions during the legal battle. The Home Office has confirmed that the eight-year legal case to deport Abu Qatada has cost UK taxpayers more than £1.7 million.
If Abu Qatada keeps to his agreement of accepting a deportation order if the treaty guaranteed him a fair trial in Jordan, it is likely that he will be leaving the UK in a matter of weeks.
Security minister James Brokenshire said: “The government remains committed to securing Abu Qatada’s deportment as quickly as possible.”
Abu Qatada came to Britain and claimed political asylum in 1993. He became renowned for preaching radical views such as supporting the killing of Jews and apostates.
Jordanian authorities convicted Abu Qatada on terrorism charges in 1999 while he was absent from the country and was sentenced to life in prison.
He now faces a retrial for the same charges, but his lawyers have argued that some of the evidences were obtained by people under torture to accuse him on false charges.
The European Court of Human Rights and senior judges in the UK have stated that before Abu Qatada can be deported, Jordanian authorities must demonstrate how the cleric would not face a trial based on evidences gathered by torturing witnesses.
The UK-Jordan Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance was signed in March 2013 and it stipulates that anyone deported from Britain must be treated “humanely” and be given a “fair trial”. It also includes specific guarantees banning the use of torture as a method of obtaining evidence.
Abu Qatada is currently detained in Belmarsh Prison in London after he breached a bail condition which restricted the use of mobile phones.