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Radical cleric faces Jordan terror charges

AMMAN: A radical Muslim preacher described as a key Al Qaeda operative in Europe rejected terrorism charges yesterday linked to alleged plots targeting Americans and Israelis in Jordan, his lawyer said, hours after Britain deported him.

Jordan first submitted an extradition request to UK authorities for the militant cleric known as Abu Qatada in 2001.

Qatada, after arrival at Amman yesterday, was immediately whisked away by police.

After nearly two hours of questioning, Jordanian prosecutors charged Qatada with conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Jordan twice. In both cases, Qatada was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison, which are now suspended.

Qatada's lawyer said his client "told military prosecutors that he is not guilty of terrorism and rejected the charges against him."

Jordanian authorities ordered Qatada held for 15 days pending further questioning.



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