(NEW YORK TIMES) AMMAN, Jordan — A militant Islamic cleric known as Abu Qatada walked free on Wednesday after a state security court here acquitted him on terrorism charges, punctuating 15 years of legal battles with the Jordanian and British authorities.
His case had long been closely watched, regarded as a test of the conflicting imperatives of national security and human rights.
The 54-year-old cleric, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, stood for the judgment in a cage inside the courtroom. As a judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict him, relatives chanted “God is great” and his eyes filled with tears, according to reporters at the hearing.
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