Qaeda 'to free UK-SA man if cleric released'

2012-04-30 08:32
Dubai – Al-Qaeda's North African branch has offered to free a British hostage in return for the release of radical preacher Abu Qatada but warned London against handing him over to his native Jordan, a statement on an Islamist website said on Monday.

"The initiative to the British government is to release its citizen Stephen Malcolm, who also has South African nationality, if it deports Abu Qatada to one of the 'Arab Spring' countries," said the statement, which could not be verified, from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).

"If Britain ignores this offer it will bear the consequences of handing Abu Qatada to the Jordanian government," it added.

Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen have seen changes of leadership after uprisings last year known as the Arab Spring. The revolts have empowered Islamists who were often persecuted by previous governments.

Malcolm is thought to be one of nine Europeans, including six French nationals, seized by the al-Qaeda branch in Mali and Niger since September 2010. It said in January it would kill them if France and its allies attack its bases in northern Mali.

The group has said the others are from Sweden and Holland.

Africa's Sahel region has become a haven for al-Qaeda-linked operatives taking advantage of the vast and lawless area, and is believed to have raked in millions of dollars in ransoms. Mauritania's army has launched a series of attacks on Aqim bases inside Mali in recent months.

Britain said this month it would resume plans to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan, where he has been convicted in absentia of involvement in militant plots.

The Jordanian preacher had been under virtual house arrest at his home in London since February, when he was freed from a British prison after a court said his detention without trial was unlawful.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in January that he would not receive a fair trial in Jordan because evidence against him might have been obtained through the use of torture, though London says it has received assurances of a fair trial.

Under the deal struck with Jordan, Abu Qatada would be tried by a court used to hearing criminal cases and not a quasi-military body. The case would be heard in public with civilian judges and his conviction in absentia would be quashed.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  abu qatada  |  uk  |  sa  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
15 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are active, busy and on a mission today. There may be a special person you wish to entertain and may put in the extra effort...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.