Jordan to back British appeal over cleric ruling

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 17, 2012 file photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London's Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which handles deportation and security cases, in London. Radical Preacher Abu Qatada  won his appeal against deportation from Britain to Jordan to face terrorism charges on Monday Nov. 12, 2012. The decision represents a setback to the British government. Home Office officials say they strongly disagree with the ruling. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
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FILE - In this Tuesday, April 17, 2012 file photo, Abu Qatada is driven away after being refused bail at a hearing at London's Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which handles deportation and security cases, in London. Radical Preacher Abu Qatada won his appeal against deportation from Britain to Jordan to face terrorism charges on Monday Nov. 12, 2012. The decision represents a setback to the British government. Home Office officials say they strongly disagree with the ruling. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan is seeking to assist the British government in efforts to appeal the ruling against the deportation of a radical Islamist cleric described by prosecutors as a key al-Qaida operative.

Britain's government has been attempting since 2001 to expel radical preacher Abu Qatada. He was convicted in his absence in Jordan of terrorist offenses related to two alleged bomb plots. He would face a retrial if he is sent back.

Judges in Britain on Monday ruled that the cleric cannot be deported because Jordan could not guarantee him a fair trial. They said there is a risk that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him.

But Jordan's acting Information Minister Nayef al-Fayez said Tuesday the kingdom's constitution and a constitutional court "guarantee a fair trial" for the cleric.