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Radical cleric tells Al Qaeda fighters in Syria to free Briton, cease killing unless attacked

  • dfbe777c430d1202490f6a706700c837.jpg

    The sons of radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada enter the Military court to attend his trial in Amman, Jordan, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. 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, Abu Qatada, who was abroad at the time, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)The Associated Press

  • 5c80f217430c1202490f6a70670029d0.jpg

    Relatives of radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada, enter the Jordanian Military court to attend his trial in Amman, Jordan, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. 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, Abu Qatada, who was abroad at the time, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)The Associated Press

A radical preacher deported from Britain who faces terrorism charges in his native Jordan has appealed to al-Qaida fighters in Syria to release a British humanitarian worker and refrain from killing people of different religious sects.

The 53 year old known as Abu Qatada spoke to reporters Thursday during a short break in his trial before a military court in Jordan's capital, Amman.

Addressing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, one of the main al-Qaida groups in Syria, he said: "If you respect me, please release the British activist and other hostages you may have immediately." He did not name the Briton.

He also urged the militants to "refrain from killing anyone — Muslim or non-Muslim — unless they take up arms against you first."