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Cablegate: Terrorism Trials Update

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 009515

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PHUM ASEC JO IZ SY
SUBJECT: TERRORISM TRIALS UPDATE

REF: A. TD-314/52765-0
B. AMMAN 7438
C. AMMAN 8717
D. AMMAN 6237
E. AMMAN 4487
F. AMMAN 9392

1. (U) SUMMARY: Jordan's State Security Court began
proceedings in four separate cases against groups charged
with planning to use cyanide to kill bar owners and patrons,
illegally entering Syria to attack U.S. forces in Iraq, and
plotting to attack U.S. personnel in Jordan. The court said
it would re-examine seven guilty verdicts issued against the
"Millennium Plotters." Prosecutors called for the death
penalty against those charged with planning chemical attacks
in Amman in April 2004; further testimony was heard in the
Jaghbir and Qteishat cases. END SUMMARY.

------------------------------
KHATTAB BRIGADE - CYANIDE PLOT
------------------------------

2. (U) In mid-September, Jordanian security services arrested
six men for plotting to use cyanide to kill bar owners and
patrons in Jordan. According to the charge sheet, the
defendants, who named themselves the "Khattab Brigade," also
planned to attack Americans who frequented the Four Seasons
Hotel in Amman, and the Intercontinental Hotel in Aqaba. The
names of the defendants are as follows; ringleader Hamdi
Ahmad Abdallah Ali, 23; Lu'ay Hisham Abd-al-Qadir al-Sharif,
25; Muhammad Hasan Uqlah al-Umari, 24; Muhammad Awdah Ali,
26; Usama Amin al-Shihabi, alias Abu-al-Zahra, a Palestinian
fugitive; and Haytham Abd-al-Karim al-Sa'di, alias Abu-Tariq,
another Palestinian fugitive. The prosecutor charged all the
defendants with conspiring to carry out terrorist activities;
no court date has been set.

-------------
Al-ASWAD CELL
-------------

3. (U) On November 14, the State Security Court arraigned
five men who were arrested in July and charged with plotting
acts that would "harm Jordan's ties with foreign countries."
The five defendants -- Iyad Ahmad al-Aswad; Anas Hasan
Abu-Musamih; Ammar Muhammad al-Falluji; Qais Nur-al-Din
Mir'I; and Hasan Muhammad al-Falluji -- pled not guilty to
the charges. According to their indictment, the defendants,
residents of Irbid, between 19 and 34 years of age, intended
to travel to Iraq through Syria to attack U.S. forces.
Ringleader Iyad Ahmad al-Aswad, 34, allegedly recruited the
four other cell members and arranged their travel to Syria
through a contact identified as "Basel Rammah," a Syrian
apparently known for smuggling fighters into Iraq.

----------------------------
BORDER INFILTRATORS INDICTED
----------------------------

4. (U) Prosecutors indicted 15 Jordanian suspects in late
October on charges of infiltrating the border with Syria to
join insurgents fighting against U.S. troops in Iraq. The
suspects, five of whom are on the run, are accused of border
infiltration, possession of an automatic weapon, and carrying
out activities aimed at "undermining ties with a foreign
nation." According to prosecutors, 10 of the men were
arrested in July after they returned to Jordan from Syria,
having failed to enter Iraq by illegal means. Some of the
defendants met a man in Syria identified as "Abu Adam
al-Tunisi," who was to help them enter Iraq. While in Syria,
the group allegedly met with Saudi and Libyan militants who
tried to persuade them to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq.
The indictment did not say if the cell was linked to Abu
Mussab al-Zarqawi; however, Abu Adam al-Tunisi, the
Syria-based contact, has been identified in previous
Jordanian trials as being a Zarqawi recruiter. A date for
the trial has not been announced. If found guilty, the
defendants could receive a 15 year prison sentence.

---------------------------
MA'ADH BREIZAT - JIPTC PLOT
---------------------------

5. (SBU) In late November, the State Security Court arraigned
four men for plotting to attack U.S. personnel in Jordan (ref
F.) According to the indictments, the four men, Ma'adh
Breizat (19), Ibrahim al-Jahawsheh (28), Faisal al-Rweidhan
(28), and Ibadah al-Hiyari (24), had trained with automatic
rifles and had followed U.S. instructors who work at the
Jordanian International Police Training Center (JIPTC) to a
house near the U.S. Embassy in Amman in August. The four had
also allegedly inspected a potential ambush site on a road
used by U.S. personnel and other trainers driving to and from
JIPTC (Ref A). Ringleader Ma'adh Breizat is additionally
charged with possessing unlicensed firearms. No trial date
has been set.

----------------------
MILLENNIUM PLOT UPDATE
----------------------
6. (U) On November 28, Jordan's military court said it would
re-examine guilty verdicts it had issued against seven
militants convicted of a bungled terror conspiracy to use
poison gas against American and Israeli tourists during
Jordan's millennium celebrations in December 1999. Military
judges adjourned the hearing until an unspecified date after
an appeals court ordered a retrial on grounds that the
plotters may be covered under a general amnesty issued by
King Abdullah. In 2000, the military court sentenced some of
the 28 men involved in the plot with prison terms ranging
from 7 1/2 years to life imprisonment, while sentencing
others to death. The seven defendants, who pleaded innocent,
claimed previously they had confessed under duress. The
prosecution's indictment said the plotters had been
collecting explosive material since 1996 from various Arab
countries, including Syria and Iraq, and that many of the
suspects had received military training in camps in Syria,
Lebanon and Afghanistan.

--------------------------------------------- -----
PROSECUTOR CALLS FOR DEATH IN CHEMICAL ATTACK CASE
--------------------------------------------- -----

7. (U) On November 27, the state prosecutor demanded the
death penalty for Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and 11 other men
accused of plotting a chemical bomb attack in Amman in April
2004. Four of the accused, including Zarqawi, are being
tried in absentia. Zarqawi has already been sentenced to
death by the State Security Court for the October 2002 murder
of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman. In addition to
conspiracy to plot terrorist acts, the suspects are charged
with membership in the outlawed "Al Tawheed Brigades," as
well as possession and manufacture of explosives and weapons.
In September and October of 2005, defense lawyers for the
eight defendants called for testimony from expert witnesses
and a former General Intelligence Directorate official to
prove that the defendants did not possess harmful chemicals
(Refs B and C).

----------------------
JAGHBIR CLAIMS TORTURE
----------------------

8. (U) The State Security court charged Muammar Ahmad Jaghbir
on November 21 with plotting "subversive acts that led to the
death of individuals" for the August 2003 attack against the
Jordanian embassy in Baghdad that killed 17 and injured
dozens. Jaghbir denied the charges, and claimed his
confession was extracted under torture and duress. Jaghbir,
who was arrested in Iraq in May 2004 by U.S. forces and
eventually handed over to Jordanian authorities, is also
standing trial in the Laurence Foley case (Refs D and E).
According to the prosecutor, Jaghbir met Zarqawi in Iraq in
2002 and plotted to attack Jews and foreigners residing in
Jordan, as well as Jordanian interests - including the
Jordanian embassy - in Iraq. The indictment further alleged
that Zarqawi, Jaghbir and Nidal Arabiat packed a car with
explosives that was later driven into the Jordanian embassy
by a man named Abu Ahmad.

-----------------------------
QTEISHAT CELL TRIAL CONTINUES
-----------------------------

9. (U) On November 16, relatives of four Jordanian men
charged with plotting attacks against hotels, foreign
tourists and General Intelligence Department (GID) officers
in 2005, testified that they observed torture marks on the
defendants' bodies. The prosecution alleges that the four
men - Osama Abu-Hazim, 23; Hatem Ensour, 20; Mohammad
Arabiyat, 24; and Yazan al-Haliq, 24, - received military
training and explosives from Mohammad Rateb Qteishat, who is
being tried in absentia and is believed to be in Iraq. The
four men, arrested in February, claimed that they were beaten
and forced to confess (Ref C).
HALE

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