Jordan Acquits Radical Cleric Abu Qatada of Terror Plot Charges

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A radical Muslim cleric who was extradited to Jordan from Britain after a years-long legal battle has been acquitted of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism due to lack of sufficient evidence. Thursday's session was a retrial in which the prosecution had argued Abu Qatada was a mentor to jihadist cells in Jordan while he was in Britain, providing spiritual and material support to a campaign of violence during the late 1990s. He will continue to be held in custody because of separate charges related to a plot to attack tourists in 2000.

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The preacher had previously been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for conspiracy to carry out al Qaeda-style attacks against U.S. and other targets inside U.S. ally Jordan. Abu Qatada's lawyer called for his client's release in December, saying his rights had been violated by the reliance on evidence extracted under torture from other defendants, among other reasons.

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada looks on from behind bars at the State Security Court in Amman on Thursday.MUHAMMAD HAMED / Reuters


- Reuters