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Abu Qatada plea for capitve Briton

Radical preacher Abu Qatada who is facing terrorism charges in his native Jordan has appealed to al Qaida fighters in Syria to release a British humanitarian worker and refrain from killing people of different religious sects.

The 53-year-old spoke to reporters today during a short break in his trial before a military court in Jordan's capital, Amman.

Addressing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, one of the main al Qaida groups in Syria, he said: "If you respect me, please release the British activist and other hostages you may have immediately." He did not name the Briton.

He also urged the militants to "refrain from killing anyone - Muslim or non-Muslim - unless they take up arms against you first."

He fought in the courts for years to avoid being deported from Britain to Jordan over concerns that evidence obtained under torture could be used against him.

But after Jordan and Britain ratified their treaty on torture aimed at easing those worries in June, the radical preacher voluntarily accepted to return to Jordan to face trial .

AP

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