Deported Qatada faces terror charge
Abu Qatada has finally faced terror charges in Jordan after a near-decade long battle to deport the radical cleric came to a tense close.
Under cover of darkness, the 53-year-old, dressed in robes and headscarf, was escorted by Scotland Yard police officers onto a private flight from RAF Northolt, in west London, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Upon arrival in the blistering Jordanian heat, the father-of-five was taken by masked anti-terror officers to a military court on the outskirts of the capital Amman where he was charged with conspiring to carry out al Qaida-linked attacks.
His departure triggered a wave of relief throughout Westminster as the controversial preacher could have challenged his removal at the last minute.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This is something this Government said it would get done and we have got it done, and it is an issue that, like the rest of the country, has made my blood boil that this man, who has no right to be in our country, who is a threat to our country ,and that it took so long and was so difficult to deport him, but we have done it, he is back in Jordan, and that is excellent news."
Home Secretary Theresa May added: "I am glad that this government's determination to see him on a plane has been vindicated and that we have at last achieved what previous governments, Parliament and the British public have long called for.
"This dangerous man has now been removed from our shores to face the courts in his own country."
Following numerous courtroom battles, it was a treaty signed between the UK and Jordan that finally secured Qatada's departure, giving the radical preacher the assurances he needed to leave his taxpayer-funded home behind.
The cleric was seen in images released by the Ministry of Defence being shown to the door of an aircraft by an official. Another image showed him stepping onto the steps of the plane at the RAF base, while others showed the aircraft taxiing onto the runway and taking off for the Middle East.
Now in Jordan, a military prosecutor said he will be detained for 15 days pending further questioning at Muwaqar I, a prison in Amman's south-eastern industrial suburb of Sahab.