Al-Qaeda warns UK against handing over cleric to Jordan
Al-Qaeda has warned Britain against handing over a radical Islamic cleric to Jordan after his release from prison, saying such a move will open the "door of evil" for the British government and its people, according to an Islamist website.
Britain freed Abu Qatada from prison in February to live under virtual house arrest after a court ruled that his detention without trial was unlawful.
"It has come to our attention that the British government intends to hand over the honorable Sheikh Abu Qatada al-Filistini to the agent Jordanian government, claiming it had secured assurances and covenants not to torture him," the group said in a statement posted on an Islamist site late on Monday.
"Based on all that, we in Qaedat al-Jihad (Al-Qaeda) place the responsibility on the British government of handing over Sheikh Abu Qatada to the Jordanian government, and let it be known that by doing so, under any pretext, it will open the door of evil for it and its citizens, which it can do without."
Okay, just shoot Abu Qatada...
It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the statement in Arabic.
Twice convicted in absentia in Jordan of involvement in terrorist plots, Britain says Abu Qatada is still a national security risk and should be deported before London hosts the Olympic Games in July and August.
The 51-year-old, whose real name is Omar Othman, has been in and out of jail since he was first detained without charge under British anti-terrorism laws in 2002.
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