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He most recently was being held at London’s Belmarsh Prison after breaching a bail condition in March that restricted the use of mobile phones and communication devices.

In London, British Home Secretary Theresa May announced Abu Qatada’s departure Sunday in a statement and expressed confidence that the British public would welcome the end to the saga.

“This dangerous man has now been removed from our shores to face the courts in his own country,” she said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his “delight” at Abu Qatada’s deportation, which he called “a priority” for his government.

Britain’s original efforts to deport Abu Qatada were blocked by courts over concerns that evidence obtained under torture could be used against him. After years of successfully fighting the numerous attempts to expel him from the U.K., Abu Qatada recently indicated he would voluntarily return to Jordan if it and Britain ratified a treaty on torture.

That treaty — which explicitly bans the use of evidence “where there are serious and credible allegations that a statement from a person has been obtained by torture or ill-treatment” — was ratified by Britain and Jordan last month, clearing the final hurdle for his deportation.

Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Momani said the kingdom “is keen on credibility and transparency” in handling Abu Qatada’s case. He also said the cleric’s deportation “sends a message to all fugitives that they will face justice in Jordan.”

&8226; Associated Press writer Cassandra Vinograd in London contributed to this article.