AQIM also threatened that Britain would “open the door of evil” unto its country and people should it send the imam back to his native Jordan where he faces jail, the report said.
The group which is Al-Qaeda’s North African franchise – has been holding Stephen Malcolm and two other western men hostage since abducting them last November in the northern Mali desert city of Timbuktu.
Britain has been trying to deport Abu Qatada for more than six years, arguing he is a threat to national security, to Jordan, where the cleric was convicted in 1998 in absentia of involvement in terror attacks.
But his removal has in the past been blocked by the European Court of Human Rights, which cited the risk that evidence obtained from torture would be used against him on his return to Jordan.
The court is now considering the latest appeal by the cleric.