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Theresa May: Qatada deportation 'concludes efforts'

Abu Qatada has left Britain after a near decade-long battle to get him out of the country.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "Abu Qatada was deported today to his home country of Jordan to face terrorism charges.

"His departure marks the conclusion of efforts to remove him since 2001 and I believe this will be welcomed by the British public."

Home Secretary Theresa May. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire


Key moments in Abu Qatada's deportation battle

Abu Qatada has been described as al Qaeda's spiritual leader in Europe, the most significant extremist preacher in the UK and "a truly dangerous individual".

Since the September 11 attacks, Qatada has challenged and thwarted every attempt by the UK Government to detain and deport him.

Here is a timeline of key events in his long-running battle against deportation.

  • 1993 - September 16 - The Jordanian father of five, real name Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, claims asylum when he arrives in Britain on a forged passport.
  • 1994 - June - He is allowed to stay in Britain.
  • 1999 - April - He is convicted on terror charges and sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • 2001 - December - Qatada becomes one of Britain's most wanted men after going on the run from his home in west London.
  • 2002 - October - He is arrested by police and detained in Belmarsh high-security jail.
  • 2005 - March - Qatada is freed on conditional bail and placed on a control order.
  • 2008 - April - Court of Appeal rules that deporting Qatada would breach his human rights.
  • 2009 - February 18 - Qatada can be deported to Jordan to face a retrial on the terror charges.
  • 2013 - June 18 - It is confirmed the King of Jordan has approved the mutual assistance treaty with the UK.

Read more: Timeline of Abu Qatada's long running battle against deportation


Abu Qatada deportation to Jordan expected imminently

Abu Qatada is expected to be flown from Britain to Jordan in the early hours of Sunday morning, ending a ten year legal battle to have him deported.

The radical Muslim cleric, described as Osama Bin Laden's spiritual leader in Europe, is wanted in his home country on terror charges.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports.

Read: Has Theresa May finally won the battle to deport Abu Qatada?

Qatada exit secured by UK Jordan treaty

Abu Qatada, left, is expected to leave Britain overnight. Credit: PA

Following numerous courtroom battles, it was a treaty signed between the UK and Jordan that finally secured Abu Qatada's departure, giving the radical preacher the assurances he insisted he needed to leave his taxpayer-funded home behind.

The agreement, unveiled by the Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this year, aims to allay fears that evidence extracted through torture will be used against the father-of-five at a retrial.

In a shock decision, Qatada pledged in May to leave Britain - with his family in tow - if and when the treaty was fully ratified, a process that concluded earlier this week, to the relief of many.

Abu Qatada expected to leave Britain tonight

Abu Qatada pictured in 2012. Credit: PA

A near decade-long battle to remove Abu Qatada from Britain is expected to come to an end overnight when the controversial cleric finally leaves for Jordan.

After spending at least £1.7 million trying to eject the terror suspect from UK shores, the Home Office is understood to be preparing to put the 53-year-old on a military flight at RAF Northolt, west London, at around 2am tomorrow.

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