Abu Qatada pleads not guilty to terror charges

Deported radical cleric is tried in Jordanian military court charged with plotting terror attacks in 1999 and 2000

A radical al-Qaida-linked preacher deported from Britain has gone on trial before a Jordanian military court and pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges.

Abu Qatada, 53, is charged with plotting terror attacks against Israelis, Americans and other westerners in Jordan in two foiled attempts in 1999 and 2000. In both cases, he was convicted in absentia years ago and sentenced to life in prison.

But on his return in July, those sentences were suspended and he has had to be re-tried under Jordanian law.

As the proceedings started on Tuesday, Abu Qatada objected to the presence of a military judge in the three-judge tribunal.

He says that it violates an agreement with Britain that paved the way for his extradition and was meant to guarantee him a fair trial in his homeland.

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