Abu Qatada on trial for terror offences in Jordan
Abu Qatada on trial for terror offences in Jordan

Court proceedings in Jordan against deported radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada have begun with the defendant claiming that he was tricked by the authorities.

Qatada, who is accused of two terror plots, said he had been deceived because one of the three judges on the panel was a military appointee.

Jordan had assured Britain that the judges would be independent civilians in a letter to British foreign secretary William Hague during drawn-out negotiations to extradite Qatada.

With the assurances received, Qatada was put on a plane out and flown to Jordan, marking the end of his eight-year battle against extradition.

Appearing in court alongside members of his family, Qatada said he had been betrayed.

At the State Security Court, he said: "How can I answer your question when I don't recognise this court? The court has betrayed the conditions on which I came here. To get a military judge is a big betrayal.

"You know that I am not guilty and this case has been fabricated."

Members of Abu Qatada's family arrive at court in Jordan PIC: Reuters
Members of Abu Qatada's family arrive at court in Jordan (Reuters)

The state prosecutor said that a military judge was appropriate because of the nature of the alleged crimes.

The Foreign Office was looking in to the reports of a military judge at the trial, a spokesman said.

"The Jordanian government have given assurances that he will get a fair trial. The trial of Abu Qatada is a matter for the Jordanian judicial system," said the spokesman.

Qatada is facing a retrial for offences said to have happened in 1998 and 2000 and for which he was convicted in his absence. Under Jordanian law, he is entitled to a fresh trial with him present at court.

Qatada foiled the efforts of a string of British home secretaries to deport him after he was linked to shoe bomber Richard Reid and 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.