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JORDAN - June 16 - Court Convicts 15 In Terror Conspiracy.

In a terrorist conspiracy aimed at US and Israeli interests in Jordan as well as intelligence officials, a military court convicts 15 men - only one of whom is in custody. Ahmad Mahmoud Saleh Al Riyati, 34, convicted of being the leader of the 15-member affiliated terror cell of Al-Qaeda and Ansar Al-Islam, is sentenced to 15 years, but the court later cut the term in half to give him another chance. The US authorities handed him over to Jordan after his arrest in Iraq last year. Eight of the 14 others, 12 of them Jordanians and two Iraqis, received sentences of 15 years in jail with hard labour. Among them was Mullah Krekar, an Iraqi Kurd and a Wahhabi convert suspected by Washington of links to Al-Qaeda. Krekar has refugee status in Norway. The sentencing comes a day after Norway's public prosecutor dropped an investigation into Krekar after raising concerns about the evidence against him. But Norway's government reaffirmed its plans to expel Krekar, calling him a threat to national security. An earlier extradition request by Jordan, wanting Krekar mainly on drug charges, was dismissed by Oslo last year. The indictment sheet says the defendants had met Krekar in Iraqi Kurdistan before the US-led war against Iraq last year. It says they were all associates of the Qaeda operative Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born militant accused by Washington of being behind a series of deadly attacks in Iraq. Defence lawyers said the trial was among a series of politically motivated cases by the authorities to curry favour with the US and bolster Jordan's credentials as a player in the US the war against terrorism.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXNO
Date:Jun 19, 2004
Previous Article:IRAQ - June 17 - Martial Law Threatened.
Next Article:RUSSIA - June 16 - Criminal Trial Adjourns.

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