Seven sentenced to death for Jordanian suicide attacks

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Jordan's State Security Court has sentenced seven people to be executed for their involvement in the 2005 Amman bombings, on Thursday, September 21. A failed female suicide bomber was the only defendant in custody, all others were tried in-absentia.

All seven were found guilty of conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts causing death and destruction, and illegal possession of weapons and explosives.

Sajida al-Rishawi, 39, was the only person in custody. She was arrested when she tried to hide with the family of her sister's husband.

Mrs. al-Rishawi confessed to the attacks on television four days after the attacks. She described her attempts to detonate an explosives on her belt.

However she pleaded not guilty and claimed the confessions were extracted through torture but had no evidence of this.

Prosecutors say she tried to blow herself up with her husband, Ali al-Shamari, at the Radisson SAS hotel.

Her lawyer, Hussein al-Masri, argued that she only married her husband Ali Hussein al-Shimeri a day before coming to Jordan and was forced to wear the belt hours before the attack.

"She expected either the death sentence or to be sent back to Iraq," Mr. al-Masri said.

"She refused to give me her family address in Iraq because she did not want them to be harmed. So neither her family nor the party that sent her helped us present any evidence that might help her case."

He said that he would appeal against the verdict. Judicial sources say that the verdict can be appealed at the Court of Cassation.