Abu Qatada will be able to preach while incarcerated at Jordanian prison

'He is treated just like any other guest, and has no restrictions imposed on him,' says official at Muwaqqar facility

Muwaqqar, Jordan

Abu Qatada will be able to preach while incarcerated, prison officials said at the Muwaqqar facility where the firebrand preacher is currently being held.

Inmates are referred to as guests, “like we're talking about a hotel where we provide them with services,” say staff at Jordan's smartest prison, the Muwaqqar Rehabilitation and Correctional Center.

The sunlit facility is dotted by artwork made by inmates; green landscapes with rivers, as well as nationalistic artwork proclaiming “Jordan first” feature heavily. Flowerbeds bloom next to the concrete and punctured footballs hang in the barbed wire surrounding the buildings.

“It is better for him here than in Britain” said Abd al Hamid Gamil AlKafawin, one of the prison officials. “Here he is treated just like any other guest, and has no restrictions imposed on him.”

He is also allowed visits by his family three times a week; on Tuesday his mother and 8 of his siblings visited Abu Qatada, though they could only communicate by telephone from behind a glass screen.

They hope to have him home soon, and his lawyer Taiseer Thaib has requested bail. “I presented the bail on Monday but we have to wait until next week to hear if it is granted” said Thaib, who saw the sheikh this morning and said he was 'comfortable.'

Contrary to initial reports that he would be kept in solitary confinement,

Abu Qatada is sharing a cell with 15 inmates. His cell, furnished by 12 bunk beds lining the walls, can accommodate up to 26. Many of the 950 inmates, including his current cellmates, are doing time for the same crime Abu Qatada is charged with; crimes against state security.

Education and religious guidance feature heavily in the rehabilitation programme; sentences are mitigated for Koran study. The library, which houses 2000 books ranging on subjects from mathematics to Arabic literature also has a section focused on the study of Islam.

If sentenced, Abu Qatada would remain here and be able to teach inmates, say prison officials. Although the position of sheikh is currently filled, the Salafist preacher is bound to find a keen following.

Such a position would be paid; teaching is but one of several occupations available to inmates. Others include carpentry and agriculture; several greenhouses, stuffed with peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes growing in neat rows, are tended to by inmates.

For those in search of lighter entertainment, two televisions in each cell are switched on from 7 am to 1 at night. Up to 2 hours a day can be spent outside the cell complex, for example by being part of the most recent play on 'how to achieve happiness' or competing in basketball, volleyball or chess.

The Independent was only allowed access to Muwaqqar 1, there is another prison on the grounds for those in solitary confinement called Muwaqqar 2. Prison officials said conditions were similar in Muwaqqar 2, but there have been reports of torture from former inmates.  Abu Qatada only returned to Jordan after parliament adopted a treaty which said evidence obtained by torture would be excluded at his trial.

In 2008, Human Rights Watch reported on a prison fire which killed three inmates following protests against alleged physical abuses.

The Adaleh Center for Human Rights, which the British government has appointed to oversee his wellbeing, visited the facility twice last year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: QA Technician

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, an experienced and hig...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Plumbing & Heating / Bathroom Trade Counter Sales

£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established London ba...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat