Middle East

Abu Qatada defiant in Jordan terrorism trial

Abu Qatada. File photo Image copyright AFP
Image caption Abu Qatada is accused of involvement in terrorist plots more than a decade ago

Radical cleric Abu Qatada has taken a defiant stance as his trial on terrorism charges resumed in Jordan.

The Palestinian-Jordanian raised his voice at judges and a military prosecutor in the courtroom in the capital Amman.

He was convicted in his absence of involvement in bombings in 1998 and a foiled terrorist plot in 2000 but is now being retried.

His eight-year legal battle to stay in the UK ended in July.

'Shut up'

On Tuesday, Abu Qatada again denied all the charges against him.

"I am not guilty, and you are a dishonest judge," he told presiding Judge Ahmad Qatarneh.

After the military prosecutor demanded the cleric be removed from the courtroom, Abu Qatada turned to him and shouted: "Shut up and sit down."

During the opening hearing on 10 December, Abu Qatada said Jordan had broken an agreement with the UK that he would be granted a fair trial. He objected to one of the three judges being a military appointee.

The military judge has now been replaced with a civilian.

When Abu Qatada was still fighting deportation from the UK, the Jordanians assured British ministers his case would only be heard by civilian judges.

During Tuesday's proceedings, he turned to the situation in Syria, Associated Press reports.

He urged the two main al-Qaeda factions in Syria - the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - to end infighting and unite under al-Qaeda chief Ayman Zawahiri.

The presiding judge then adjourned the trial until 16 January.

Abu Qatada, who is in his early 50s, could face 15 years in prison if convicted.

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