Six Muslim militants sentenced to death for plotting to attack tourists in Jordan

Six Muslim militants accused of having links with Osama bin Laden were sentenced to death in Jordan yesterday after being found guilty of plotting attacks on American and Israeli tourists during millennium celebrations.

Six Muslim militants accused of having links with Osama bin Laden were sentenced to death in Jordan yesterday after being found guilty of plotting attacks on American and Israeli tourists during millennium celebrations.

Commandos with submachine-guns surrounded the court in the capital, Amman, during the 90-minute public hearing, underscoring the political sensitivity of the case within the Hashemite kingdom. The three-man tribunal also sentenced 16 Muslim militants to prison terms ranging from seven years to life, although some defendants, including four of the six sentenced to die, were convicted in absentia.

The case was watched closely by the Israeli and American governments, which believe that Mr Bin Laden, a millionaire Saudi exile, is the mastermind behind a global Islamic terrorist network. He is held responsible for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 224 died.

Jordanian intelligence and FBI officials believe the group planned to commit New Yearattacks on Mount Nebo, from where Moses is said to have viewed the promised land, and a Christian settlement along the river Jordan, one of several places that purport to be the scene of Christ's baptism. The prosecution said the group had been smuggling weapons into Jordan for the past four years.

In all, prosecutors charged 28 men with 12 crimes, which included manufacturing explosives, using the proceeds from burglaries and cheque frauds to prepare the attacks, andaffiliation with an outlawed group - al-Qaedah, an organisation allegedly led by Mr Bin Laden.

The tribunal acquitted six of the defendants, including a 17-year-old schoolboy, citing lack of evidence.

The death sentences, read out by the presiding judge, Lt-Col Tayel al-Raqad, were interrupted with cries of "Allahu Akbar" - God is great - from the accused as they stood in the dock in dark blue prison uniforms.

All the defendants, most of whom were Palestinians with Jordanian citizenship, denied the charges, and claimed they confessed under duress.

Eight were initially sentenced to hang, but two men had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. A Jordanian Islamist living in Britain, Omar Abu Omar, better known as Abu Kutaida, was sentenced in absentia to 15 years for his alleged role in financing the group.

One of those sentenced to death, Zen al-Abideen Hassan, also known as Abu Zubaydah, is a Palestinian living in Pakistan who is believed to be a key aide to Mr Bin Laden.

The verdicts drew strong protests from the defendants' lawyers, who had produced witnesses to testify that acid, gunpowder and two-way radios that had been seized from the accused were unfit for bomb-making.

"There is a political background behind these sentences," said Jawad Younis, one of the lawyers. "It's to serve the Americans and to prove that Jordan is pursuing what they call terrorists."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
music
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"