Abu Qatada has denied plotting al-Qaida inspired terror attacks at a court in Jordan after a near-decade long battle to deport the radical cleric finally saw him board a plane out of Britain.
Under cover of darkness, the 53-year-old, dressed in robes and headscarf, was escorted by Scotland Yard police officers on to a private flight from RAF Northolt, in west London, in the early hours of this morning.
Upon arriving in the blistering Jordanian heat, the father-of-five was taken by masked anti-terror police to a military court on the outskirts of the capital Amman where he has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in 1999 and 2000.
Charges faced by Qatada cover a foiled plot against the American school in Amman and an alleged attack on Israeli and American tourists during new year celebrations.
His departure has triggered a wave of relief throughout Westminster as the controversial preacher could have challenged his removal once again at any minute.
Prime minister David Cameron said: "This is something this Government said it would get done and we have got it done, and it is an issue that like the rest of the country has made my blood boil that this man who has no right to be in our country, who is a threat to our country and that it took so long and was so difficult to deport him, but we have done it, he is back in Jordan, and that is excellent news."
Home secretary Theresa May added: "I am glad that this government's determination to see him on a plane has been vindicated and that we have at last achieved what previous governments, Parliament and the British public have long called for.
"This dangerous man has now been removed from our shores to face the courts in his own country."
Following numerous courtroom battles, it was a treaty signed between the UK and Jordan that finally secured Qatada's departure, giving the radical preacher the assurances he needed to leave his taxpayer-funded home behind.
The cleric was seen in images released by the Ministry of Defence being shown to the door of an aircraft by an official.
Another showed him stepping onto the steps of the plane at the RAF base, while others showed the aircraft taxiing onto the runway and taking off for the Middle East.
Other broadcast footage showed Qatada aboard the plane, looking out of a window as it taxied away.
Now in Jordan, his lawyer Tayseer Thiab told reporters his client "told military prosecutors that he is not guilty of terrorism and rejected the charges against him".
A military prosecutor said he will be detained for 15 days pending further questioning at Muwaqar I, a prison in Amman's southeastern industrial suburb of Sahab.
However Thiab is understood to be preparing a bail application for as early as tomorrow.
Information Minister Mohammed Momani said Jordan "is keen on credibility and transparency" in handling Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman.
He added that his deportation "sends a message to all fugitives that they will face justice in Jordan".
Outside the State Security Court in Amman, Qatada's father, Mahmoud, and an unidentified relative stood at the entrance of the court building, but were not allowed to enter.
"I have nothing to say, except that my son is innocent and I hope the court will set him free," Qatada's father told reporters.
Once dubbed Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, Qatada spent his final months in the UK in Belmarsh prison, after breaching a bail condition which restricted use of mobile phones and other communication devices.
The Government has been trying to deport him to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999, for about eight years.
But Qatada - who has praised the September 11 terror attacks - repeatedly used human rights laws to avoid removal.
This argument, originally rejected by British courts, was upheld by judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, forcing May to seek new legal guarantees from Jordan that his rights would not be breached.
The treaty that was drawn up aimed to allay fears that evidence extracted through torture will be used against the father of five at a retrial.
In a shock decision, Qatada pledged in May to leave Britain if and when the treaty was fully ratified, a process that to the relief of many, concluded earlier this week.
Keith Vaz MP, who as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee has scrutinised the Government's efforts to deport Qatada, said: "Only 446 days after the Home Secretary said Abu Qatada would be on a plane shortly, he has finally reached the end of the runway.
"In the end, it was the King of Jordan who secured his departure by agreeing to this treaty.
"The Home Secretary's legal advisers will have questions to answer as to why they didn't conceive of this scheme earlier which would have prevented a cost to the taxpayer of £1.7 million."
It was recently disclosed that the lengthy deportation fight has cost the taxpayer more than £1.7 million since 2005, including £647,658 for Qatada's legal aid costs and more than £1 million in Home Office costs for pursuing the case through the courts.
After his departure, Mrs May vowed to "make sense of our human rights laws" and "remove the many layers of appeals available to foreign nationals we want to deport".
Yvette Cooper MP, Labour's shadow home secretary, said Qatada's deportation was extremely welcome and meant he could stand fair trial in Jordan after legal delays that had been "deeply frustrating for all governments".
She said: "We must ensure that delays like this do not last for so long in future and that the system is reformed to make it faster."