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Clegg Vows To Stop Qatada Returning To UK

Thursday 26th June 2014

The Deputy Prime Minister has told LBC the Government would fight any attempt by Abu Qatada to return to Britain.

A military court in Jordan has acquitted the radical Muslim preacher of terror charges over a foiled 1999 plot to attack an American school in the capital Amman.

He was deported last year to face trial after a lengthy legal process.

The news of his acquittal came during this week's Call Clegg. Nick Clegg reacted to the breaking news live on LBC.

"It was important that we sent Abu Qatada, after lengthy, frustratingly lengthy delays to Jordan to face trial," he said.

"I don't know the details of the court judgement, I don't know whether there are other charges that he faces but what is absolutely clear to me is that this man needed to face justice and needed to so out of the United Kingdom and that's something the Government finally achieved."

When questioned by LBC's Nick Ferrari over whether Abu Qatada could potentially return to this country the Deputy Prime Minister was adamant that "we don't want this man back."

When asked by Nick Ferrari if "we'll do everything we can to resist this" Nick Clegg replied, "of course."

The court in Amman announced today that it found the 53-year-old innocent due to a lack of evidence against him.

Qatada had pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Separately, the military court postponed its ruling on a second set of terrorism charges against the cleric, involving plots to attack Israelis, Americans and other Westerners in Jordan in 2000, and said it would deliver its verdict in that case in September.

In both cases, Qatada was convicted in absentia years ago and sentenced to life in prison.