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Jordan ratifies UK treaty to deport radical cleric

Wednesday - 6/12/2013, 1:01pm  ET

LONDON (AP) -- The British government on Wednesday hailed the Jordanian Parliament's approval of a treaty that sets the stage for the possible deportation of radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada.

Jordan's information minister, Mohammed Momani, said parliament endorsed the treaty Wednesday. It now must be signed by Jordan's King Abdullah II.

The Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance is intended to ease human rights concerns that have prevented the deportation of the cleric, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman.

Successive British governments have tried since 2001 to deport him, but courts have blocked extradition over concerns that evidence obtained under torture could be used against him.

Recently, Abu Qatada said he would go to Jordan voluntarily if the treaty is ratified.

In Britain, officials said they expect the treaty to be ratified by June 21. A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said he remains committed to deporting Abu Qatada.

Abu Qatada is wanted in Jordan for retrial in several terror cases in which he was sentenced to death in absentia. He is in London's Belmarsh prison.

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