[JURIST] A five-judge panel of the UK's Law Lords [official website] ruled [judgment] unanimously Wednesday that Islamic cleric Abu Qatada [BBC profile] could be deported to Jordan despite fears he might be tortured upon his arrival. Qatada, accused of being one of Osama bin Laden's chief associates in Europe, faces terrorism charges in Jordan, which his lawyers say are based on evidence obtained through torture. British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith [official website] said that she would try to deport Qatada [statement] as soon as possible. Amnesty International [advocacy website] questioned [press release] the government's reliance on "diplomatic assurances" that deportation would not lead to human rights violations. Qatada's lawyers plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights [official website]. The panel also approved the deportation of two Algerian terror suspects.
The Law Lords overruled the April 2008 Court of Appeal decision blocking [JURIST report] Qatada's deportation. Qatada was originally ordered deported [JURIST report] in February 2007. He was expected to be one of the first terror suspects to be deported under the UK's 2005 extradition oversight agreement [JURIST report] with Jordan.