Jordan’s Security Court Plans Retrial of Alleged Terrorist Group
Jordan’s state security court plans to review the case of an alleged terrorist ring, after a higher court in April overturned the life sentences handed down to eight defendants in 1999, reported the Jordan Times on Wednesday.
“The tribunal, headed by Colonel Tayel Raggad, plans to convene within a few weeks to issue a new verdict in this case,” a judicial source told the paper.
Those in detention sentenced to life imprisonment are Abd Al Naser Al Khamayseh; Samer Amer; Ra'ed 'Abd Al Karim Al Kafafi; Ahmad Husayn Abdallah and Samir Sa'id Shabayeh.
Khaled Tawfiq Al 'Aruri, a former policeman, was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.
Jordan's Court of Cassation overruled an earlier verdict and called for a retrial of nine men convicted of carrying out terrorist attacks.
In April 1999, the state security court sentenced eight members of the Reform and Challenge group to life imprisonment with hard labor for a series of alleged attacks.
One man received a 15-year prison sentence. Four other defendants were acquitted.
The alleged militants were accused of using primitive, home-made bombs in 1998 in a series of car park bombings that caused no casualties, just damage to vehicles.
According to the paper, the higer court based its ruling on the penal code description of “terrorist acts” which, according to a judicial source, do not cover the targets of the accused group — parked private vehicles.
In such a case, the defendants should receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison, they said.
The penal code stipulates that terrorist acts are those targeted against public property.
Amnesty International called in April for a fair retrial of the nine defendants.
"Six of these men have already spent three years in prison for a crime they may not have committed," stated Amnesty International. "We are calling for a fair trial before a civil court to prevent further miscarriages of justice."
Amnesty International has repeatedly raised its concerns over this case with the Jordanian government, a statement by the organization said, published on its website.
In a letter to Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb in September 2000, the organization wrote that "confessions allegedly made under duress and the absence of a prompt and thorough investigation of the defendants' allegations of torture, renders their confessions unsafe and their convictions a miscarriage of justice."
The defendants were arrested between in May 1998. After arrest they were held without access to the outside world for two months in the detention center of Jordan's internal security forces - Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)