AMMAN - A military court on Thursday acquitted a radical Jordanian preacher known for his fiery pro-al-Qaeda rhetoric of involvement in a foiled 1999 plot to attack an American school in Amman but postponed a ruling on other terrorism charges.
It was a welcome victory for Abu Qatada, described as a onetime lieutenant to Osama bin Laden, nearly a year after he was deported back to his homeland by Britain after losing a decade-long legal battle over demands for his extradition.
The State Security Court in Amman said it found insufficient evidence to convict the 53-year-old Muslim preacher in the 1999 plot, but he will remain in detention pending a verdict on a charge of involvement in a plot to target Israeli and American tourists and Western diplomats in 2000. It said it will render a decision in that case on Sept. 7. Abu Qatada has pleaded not guilty to all charges. (AP)