Islamist frustrates UK deportation

2012-04-19 22:35

London - British Prime Minister David Cameron is expressing frustration that the UK has been unable to deport a radical Islamist due to legal wrangling, saying he wishes he could personally "put him on a plane" and whisk him out of the country.

Britain has been trying for a decade to deport the Muslim preacher known as Abu Qatada to Jordan, calling him a national security threat.

The government thought it succeeded this week. Home Secretary Theresa May said Jordan had assured Britain that Abu Qatada would receive a fair trial. May said that promise would satisfy a European court that has halted his deportation.

But Abu Qatada's lawyers have appealed, and May admitted on Thursday the deportation would take "many months".

In comments on Thursday, Cameron said he wished he "could put him on a plane and take him to Jordan myself. But government has to act within the law".

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