Radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada was flown from Britain to Jordan on Sunday , after the two governments approved a treaty paving the way for his deportation ending years of litigation, AFP reported.
Abu Qatada took off from a military base on a private plain to Jordan, escorted by Jordanian and British guards.
The radical, Palestinian cleric has been fighting extradition to Jordan for years, although his representatives said he had finally reconciled himself to being deported to the kingdom which convicted him in his absence of terror charges in 1999.
Born Omar Mahmud Mohammed Otman in Bethlehem, Abu Qatada is Palestinian by birth but has Jordanian nationality.
In 1999 he was condemned to death in Jordan for conspiracy to carry out terror attacks, including on the American school in Amman, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with hard labor.
In 2000, he was sentenced to 15 years for plotting terror attacks on tourists during the millennium celebrations in Jordan.
But the deal struck between the UK and Jordan probably included a Jordanian commitment to retry Abu Qatada. His fans don’t believe he’ll spend any jail time at all in Jordan.
“We are optimistic. We hope that he will be taken to his home from the airport, directly. It is in nobody’s interest to keep him in jail,” Mohammad Shalabi, a Jordanian Salafist leader better known as Abu Sayyaf, told AFP.