British judge delays Abu Qatada deportation decision
LONDON (REUTERS) - A decision on whether to overturn a decision blocking the deportation of radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada from Britain to Jordan to face terrorism charges will made by the end of the month, a British judge ruled on Monday.
Britain has been trying for years to get rid of Qatada, who it accuses of inspiring one of the 9/11 hijackers and of being a national security risk.
The cleric, once described by a Spanish judge as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe", is wanted in Jordan on charges of encouraging militants there who planned bomb attacks in 1999 and 2000. He argues a trial in his homeland would be skewed by evidence obtained using torture.
The British government launched an appeal on Monday against a decision by the Special Immigrations Appeals Commission (SIAC) last November to block his deportation.