As it happened: Abu Qatada flown from UK to Jordan

Key points

  • Radical Islamist preacher Abu Qatada has been deported from the UK after a lengthy legal battle costing the UK more than £1.7m ($2.5m)
  • His plane took off from RAF Northolt in west London at 02:45 BST and has arrived in Jordan, where he has reportedly been charged with terrorism and detained.
  • Home Secretary Theresa May says she is delighted at the deportation and adds the government will change the rules to restrict the appeals process.

Live text

Reporting:

  • Alex Morrison 
  • Anna Browning 

Last updated 7 July 2013

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Good morning and welcome to our coverage of the deportation of Muslim cleric Abu Qatada.

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Abu Qatada boarding plane

This is the moment Abu Qatada walked up the steps to the plane.

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Minutes after the plane took off, Home Secretary Theresa May issued a statement saying the deportation "marks the conclusion of efforts to remove him since 2001 and I believe this will be welcomed by the British public".

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Mrs May added: "I am glad that this government's determination to see him on a plane has been vindicated and that we have at last achieved what previous governments, Parliament and the British public have long called for."

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So who is Abu Qatada and why has he proved such a thorn in the side of the UK government?. BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani, who was at RAF Northolt when the plane departed, has written this profile of the Palestinian-born, Jordanian preacher.

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The deportation came after the UK and Jordan ratified a treaty on torture aimed at easing human rights concerns that had blocked previous attempts to deport Abu Qatada. As the plane made its way to Amman, the Jordanian government issued a statement in which it said it sought "credibility and transparency" in dealing with the case.

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Jordanian officials said they expected Abu Qatada to arrive in Amman at about 08:00 BST. He will be handed over to military prosecutors and appear in court to face terrorism charges.

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The BBC's Steve Swann visited Jordan earlier this year and examines the background to the trial in this story. "Abu Qatada's family nervously await his return after two decades of exile," he writes.

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Convoy of police vehicles

Abu Qatada left Belmarsh prison in south-east London just after midnight in a convoy of police vehicles.

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