Jordan's Prosecutor Demands Death Penalty for 12 Suspects in the 'Base' Trial
Prosecutor general asked the State Security Court in Amman on Wednesday to hand down a guilty verdict in the case of 28 alleged members of a terrorist network, reported the Jordan Times.
Such a verdict could mean the death sentence for 12 of the defendants.
In a 60-page closing argument, Mahmoud Obeidat sought to convince the court that his evidence was unequivocal. He made a chronological review of the case on the basis of the defendants' confessions and the testimonies of nearly 30 state witnesses, said the paper.
When Obeidat handed his argument to the court to be included in its files, several defendants screamed at him from the cage saying "may God take revenge on you."
Afterwards, one of the 16-member defence team, Samih Khreis, presented his closing argument asking the tribunal to acquit his clients for lack of evidence, said the paper.
Twelve of the defendants are accused of belonging to an illegal organization linked to Islamic dissident Osama ben Laden.
They are also charged with maintaining stashes of explosives and weapons while plotting to attack Western targets and tourist facilities during millennium festivities, said the paper.
The other defendants face peripheral charges such as burglary as means to fund the dismantled group and auto theft.
Sixteen defendants, five of whom remain at large, are accused of plotting to carry out terrorist actions, belonging to an illegal organization, selling of automatic weapons, conspiracy to carry out armed robberies and forging of official documents.
They face prison sentences from a few years to life with hard labor, according to the paper.
All of them have denied the charges against them as well as any link with Ben Laden or his network Al Qaeda, the Base, and said they testified under duress.
Obeidat said all the 28 defendants, on trial since April 20, were "guilty" and should be sentenced accordingly.
"They wanted to carry out attacks in the name of the jihad (holy war) although Islam bans the murder of tourists and non-Muslims when they are in a Muslim country," Obeidat said.
He also accused the group of "seeking to undermine the security and the stability of Jordan as well as having harmed the reputation of Islam and the economy of the country."
Seven of those against whom he requested the death penalty are tried in absentia.
The State Security Court is composed of two military judges and one civilian. Its verdicts are subject to appeal.
Most of the defendants are of Palestinian origin, while one is Iraqi and another is Algerian.
Sixteen were arrested inside Jordan, most of them in December, said the paper - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)