AMMAN (AFP) – The family of radical cleric Abu Qatada, who faces terror charges in Jordan following his deportation from Britain, has arrived in the Arab kingdom, his brother said on Sunday.
"Abu Qatada's wife, two sons and three daughters arrived in Jordan from Britain on Thursday. They didn't face any problems on the way here," Abu Omar told AFP.
"They landed at Amman's Queen Alia international airport and on Friday they visited Abu Qatada in jail."
The British government announced that Abu Qatada's family had left Britain on Thursday after they "formally agreed to drop an outstanding application for 'Indefinite Leave to Remain.'"
This allows people who have lived legally in Britain for a certain length of time to apply for permission to settle permanently.
"Abu Qatada is in good condition. We asked the authorities today (Sunday) to allow us to visit him in prison," Abu Omar said.
The preacher was flown from Britain to the Middle East on July 7, ending a nearly decade-long battle by successive governments to deport him.
Jordanian military prosecutors charged him with "conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts" just hours after his deportation from Britain. He pleaded not guilty.
He is currently in Muwaqqar prison, a maximum security facility in the desert east of Amman that houses more than 1,000 inmates, most of them Islamists convicted of terror offences.
"Abu Qatada told us that Muwaqqar is cleaner than British prisons, despite some administrative problems," Abu Omar added.
Abu Qatada was condemned to death in absentia in 1999 for conspiracy to carry out terror attacks, including on the American school in Amman.
But the sentence was immediately commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour.
In 2000, he was sentenced in his absence to 15 years for plotting to attack tourists in Jordan during millennium celebrations.
Britain's expulsion of Abu Qatada came after Amman and London ratified a treaty guaranteeing that evidence obtained by torture would not be used in his retrial.