Jordan executes 10 men convicted of terror charges

By , on March 4, 2017


Jordan on Saturday executed 10 men convicted of terrorism charges, including deadly attacks on tourists, Jordanian security forces and a local writer, the government spokesman said. (Photo; Andrew Moore/Flickr)
Jordan on Saturday executed 10 men convicted of terrorism charges, including deadly attacks on tourists, Jordanian security forces and a local writer, the government spokesman said. (Photo: Andrew Moore/Flickr)

AMMAN, Jordan—Jordan on Saturday executed 10 men convicted of terrorism charges, including deadly attacks on tourists, Jordanian security forces and a local writer, the government spokesman said.

It was the largest round of executions since pro-Western Jordan launched a crackdown on Islamic extremists two years ago, following the killing of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot by the Islamic State group. Jordan is a part of a U.S.-led military coalition against IS, which holds territory in Syria and Iraq.

The men were hanged at dawn Saturday at Swaqa Prison in central Jordan, government spokesman Mohammed Momani said in a statement carried by the state news agency Petra.

Five others were executed for other crimes, including rape, he said.

Momani said the assailants executed Saturday for terror convictions had been involved in five different incidents, from a 2003 bombing attack on Jordan’s embassy in Iraq to the September 2016 shooting of outspoken writer Nahed Hattar in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

Also listed was a 2006 shooting attack on a group of tourists at a Roman theatre in the centre of Amman. A British man was killed in the attack.

Hattar had been on trial for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam on social media when an assailant walked up to him on the steps of an Amman courthouse and shot him dead. The shooter was a former mosque prayer leader motivated by anger over the cartoon, officials said at the time.

Saad Hattar, a cousin of the victim, said Saturday that while the killer was punished, those who instigated such attacks with hateful rhetoric were not.

“The murderer was just a tool, and our society needs the uprooting of the ideology and the culture behind him,” Hattar, a journalist, told The Associated Press.

Jordan intensified a campaign against suspected Islamic extremists after IS released a video in early 2015, showing its militants burning to death the fighter pilot as he was trapped in a cage. In response to the video, Jordan executed two prisoners linked to the al-Qaida terror network, a precursor of IS.

Hundreds of Jordanians have been detained or sentenced to prison since then, including those expressing support for IS on social media.

Jordanian authorities have dismissed support for IS in the kingdom as a fringe phenomenon and said security forces can contain any threat. However, there has been a rise in attacks in Jordan linked to Islamic extremists over the past year.