Islamist cleric Abu Qatada pleaded not guilty on Sunday to terror charges pressed by Jordanian military prosecutors just hours after his deportation from Britain, his lawyer said.
Britain’s expulsion of the Palestinian-born preacher after a decade-long legal battle drew expressions of delight from Prime Minister David Cameron.
Abu Qatada, who had been in and out of British prisons since 2002 even though he was never convicted of any offence, had once been described as now slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe.
Defence lawyer Taysir Diab said, “I will appeal tomorrow (Monday) to the (state security) court to release him on bail.”
The cleric was taken to the courthouse near Marka military airfield in east Amman just hours after he was flown in from Britain.
“State security court prosecutors charged Abu Qatada with conspiracy to carry our terrorist acts,” a judicial official said.