Qatada could step closer to extradition with UK days away from ratifying treaty

The treaty is expected to be ratified by Friday, removing the last hurdle in extraditing extremist cleric Abu Qatada

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The Independent Online

The UK could be days away from ratifying the treaty that will allow it to begin the extradition of radical cleric Abu Qatada.

The UK parliamentary process of ratifying the treaty, expected to be completed by Friday, has already had the agreement approved by the King of Jordan and the Jordanian parliament in their country.

To complete the process the treaty will have to be published in the Jordanian government's official gazette and a number of ratification instruments must be exchanged.

The agreement was unveiled by the Home Secretary Theresa May in April this year in the hope it would calm fears that evidence extracted through torture would be used against terror suspect Qatada at a retrial. The treaty is designed to guarantee a fair trial.

However, the Home Secretary has warned that 52-year-old Qatada may not simply be put a plane within days of the treaty being fully ratified. The case will remain open to appeal.

Last month, Qatada unexpectedly volunteered to leave the country when the treaty is ratified by both countries. The government has been attempting to deport him to Jordan, where he was convicted on terror charges in 1999, for approximately eight years during a legal battle that has already cost the UK tax payer £1.7m since 2005.

The cleric is currently being held at London’s Belmarsh Prison after breaching his bail conditions which restricted use of mobile phones and communication devices.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) previously heard that a USB stick understood to belong to Qatada's eldest son contained “jihadist files” made by the “media wing of al-Qa'ida”. Scotland Yard is investigating Qatada over alleged extremist material found during the search of his home.

Additional reporting by PA