Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat– Jordan’s military court today found 10 Terrorists guilty of conspiring to attack US forces in Jordan and neighboring Iraq, and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from two to five years, according to a report by the Associate Press.
The court acquitted seven others for lack of evidence.
All 17 were in custody, charged with different counts including conspiring to commit terrorism and attempting to harm Jordan’s relations with a foreign country _ a reference to Iraq, where the suspects allegedly planned suicide operations against U.S. forces but did not manage to travel there.
Alleged ringleader Motassem Suleiman was given five years of hard labour and co-defendant Ziad Nsur four years, for “conspiring to carry out terror attacks”.
Court papers said that Suleiman, who was arrested in 2002 in Saudi Arabia and deported a year later to Jordan for trying to preach Islamic radicalism, went to Iraq to fight US troops and actively tried to recruit fighters.
In 2005 he met followers of the Jordanian-born Zarqawi in Syria and plotted the attacks which were foiled by the Jordanian authorities.
Zarqawi, who has a 25-million-dollar US bounty on his head, has been sentenced to death three times by Jordanian courts over the 2002 murder of a US diplomat in Amman and terror plots. He is facing several other trials.
Syrian defendant Mohammad Omar Zohbi, the only non-Jordanian accused, was among the seven men cleared.
He kissed the ground and praised God for his fate, in a move emulated by others who were acquitted.
Defence lawyers have 30 days to appeal.