Jordan acquits, to free radical cleric Abu Qatada

Jordan acquits, to free radical cleric Abu Qatada
A picture taken on November 13, 2013 shows radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada arriving at his home in northwest London after he was released from prison.

AMMAN - A Jordan court acquitted radical cleric Abu Qatada of terrorism charges Wednesday and ordered the release of the Palestinian-born preacher, who was deported from Britain last year after a long legal battle.

Abu Qatada was found not guilty of conspiring to attack tourists in Jordan during millennium celebrations and granted "immediate release", a judicial source told AFP.

The source said the court found there was not enough evidence to convict Abu Qatada, who had pleaded not guilty.

Abu Qatada - once described by a Spanish judge as the right-hand man in Europe of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden - was deported from Britain to Jordan in July 2013 after a 10-year legal fight.

He faced two retrials after he was convicted in his absence on the charges in 1999 and 2000 and sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment.

In the first retrial in June he was acquitted of plotting a 1999 attack on the American school in Amman.

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