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Muslim Cleric Avoids Deportation to Jordan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A Muslim cleric who has spent most of the last 10 years in custody in the U.K. was released on bail Tuesday after a court ruled he might not be able to get a fair trial if deported to Jordan, where he faces terrorism charges.

The court ruled in favor of Abu Qatada’s appeal against deportation after determining that witness evidence obtained by torture may be used against him at trial.

Qatada was charged with allegedly conspiring to target Western and Israeli targets with explosives in Jordan in 1998 and 1999.  He was found guilty of terrorism charges in abstentia in 1999.

Security experts say Qatada is a spiritual leader who has spread support for suicide bombings.

Both the British government and the Jordanian government expressed disappointment with the court’s ruling.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said his government would “take all the steps necessary to ensure that Qatada does not present a risk to national security.”

Legal experts say Qatada’s deportation remains unlikely as long as the possibility of witnesses providing evidence obtained by torture remains.  The case is expected to continue for years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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