First Published: 2017-07-17

Jordanian soldier gets life sentence for killing 3 US trainers
Military court finds 39-year-old Tawaiha guilty of shooting US military trainers as they waited to enter King Faisal base at Al-Jafr on November 4.
Middle East Online

'Hard labour for life'

AMMAN - A Jordanian court on Monday sentenced a soldier to life imprisonment over the killing of three American military trainers outside an army base last year.

The military court in Amman found 39-year-old Maarik Al-Tawaiha guilty of shooting the trainers as they waited to enter the King Faisal base at Al-Jafr in southern Jordan on November 4.

The charge sheet did not indicate that he had any ties to militant groups.

The court sentenced him to "hard labour for life", a term that usually lasts 20 years but could stretch to a full lifetime, a judicial official told an AFP correspondent at the courthouse.

It also demoted him from sergeant to second private and threw him out of military service.

The prosecution in June accused him of "voluntary manslaughter" as well as "insulting the dignity and reputation of the armed forces and violating military orders".

Tawaiha, who wore a suit at the hearing, had been in custody since November but denied the charges.

The court had heard evidence from base guards and forensic experts.

The Jordanian army said in November that the shooting took place during an exchange of fire at the gate of the base after the car carrying the US trainers failed to stop.

An American defence official described the incident as "green on blue", a military term for when friendly forces attack US personnel.

Tawaiha told the court he had opened fire on the cars carrying the American trainers after hearing gunshots. Suspecting an attack on the base, he shot at them, killing the three Americans and wounding a Jordanian soldier.

The American official told AFP in November that it was not clear whether the act was a deliberate attempt to kill US personnel or "some kind of misunderstanding".

The King Faisal air base hosts trainers of various nationalities including Americans.

Jordan, which hosts some 2,200 American military personnel, is a key American ally and a member of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

US forces have trained a small group of vetted Syrian rebels in the country, and American instructors have also trained Palestinian security forces there over the past few years.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi, Yemeni and Libyan forces have also received training in Jordan.

In 2015, the United States said it would increase overall US assistance to Jordan from $660 million to $1 billion annually for the period to 2017.

The Al-Jafr incident came almost a year after a Jordanian policeman shot dead two US instructors, a South African and two Jordanians at a police training centre east of Amman, before being gunned down.

 

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

Turkey summons Dutch diplomat over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey navy threatens to engage Italian drillship near Cyprus

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea

African migrants start hunger strike over Israel expulsion

UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

Three militiamen killed in Libya car bomb attack

Russia denies ‘groundless’ accusations of role in Ghouta killings

Turkey says whoever helps YPG is 'legitimate target'

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terrorist cell

Turkey urged to end gas standoff with Cyprus

PKK attack near Iraq kills 2 Turkish soldiers

Netanyahu confidant to testify against him

Iran emergency teams recover bodies from plane crash site

Ten dead in more Syrian regime strikes on East Ghouta

Bahrain activist sentenced to 5 years for Yemen tweets

Lebanese president makes landmark visit to Iraq

US declares readiness to talk Mideast peace

Bloodbath in Syria's eastern Ghouta

Abbas calls for peace conference in rare UN speech