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Cablegate: Jordan's State Security Court Moves On Terrorism

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAM #4685/01 1761344
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251344Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1669

UNCLAS AMMAN 004685

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PHUM ASEC IZ IS JO
SUBJECT: JORDAN'S STATE SECURITY COURT MOVES ON TERRORISM
CASES

REF: A. 05 AMMAN 8828
B. AMMAN 3325
C. 05 AMMAN 7438
D. AMMAN 2118

1. SUMMARY: Jordan's State Security Court (SSC) continued
proceedings against would-be suicide bomber Sajida Rishawi,
as well as six defendants charged with firing rockets at two
U.S. warships in Aqaba. The SSC began proceedings against
nine defendants - including Azmi Jayousi - for an attempted
prison break, and against five Jordanians arrested for
plotting to carry out attacks in Israel. The SSC indicted
seven defendants for planning an Al-Qaeda linked terrorist
attack at Queen Alia International Airport, and charged five
defendants with preparing to cross illegally into Syria en
route to join anti-U.S. insurgents in Iraq. The Mansurah
Sect defendants claimed that their confessions were extracted
under duress. END SUMMARY.

RISHAWI TO PLEAD NOT GUILTY
---------------------------

2. On May 10, Hussein Masri, the lawyer representing Sajida
Rishawi - - the Iraqi woman standing trial in connection with
last November,s hotel bombings (ref A) -- said that his
client intends to plead not guilty. He added that he does
not think Rishawi is mentally sound, and that he plans to ask
for a psychological evaluation to determine if she is fit to
stand trial. Masri also told reporters that her confession
was "void" as it was "forced" from her by harsh interrogation
procedures. NOTE: In a live confession aired on Jordanian
television, the 35-year-old Iraqi national confessed she
married her husband to enter Jordan and launch a suicide
attack. END NOTE. The SSC appointed Masri to represent
Rishawi after the Jordan Bar Association refused to name a
defense attorney (ref B). Rishawi is charged with conspiracy
to carry out terrorist acts and the illegal possession of
weapons and explosives. If found guilty she could be
sentenced to death.

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3. Security officials testifying against Rishawi on June 12
stated that DNA samples taken from Rishawi matched blood and
hair samples found at the house rented by the hotel bombing
perpetrators, thereby conclusively linking her with the
bombers. Major Majid Bdour, Major Ayman Thuneibat and Major
Muhanad Salim, from the Public Security Department,s
criminal lab, also recounted the procedures adopted by the
authorities at the explosion scenes on the night of the
bombings. Additional prosecution witnesses are expected to
testify as the case proceeds.

AQABA ROCKET ATTACK CASE CONTINUES
----------------------------------

4. On June 21, security officials testified against six men
accused of firing rockets at two U.S. Navy vessels in Aqaba
in August 2005. Private First Class Mohammad Ali testified
that he searched the vehicle of Syrian defendant Mohammad
Sahli a week before the attack and had found a "strange
device," but let Sahli go after running his name through a
database. Pathologist Damen Abbadi - who performed an
autopsy on the Jordanian soldier killed during the attack -
testified that the soldier died from internal bleeding
resulting from wounds he sustained in the incident. The
judge adjourned the trial until early July, when additional
witnesses will testify. A total of 12 defendants are being
tried in the case - six defendants remain at large and are
being tried in absentia (ref B).

JAYOUSI PRISON-BREAK TRIAL OPENS
--------------------------------

5. The SSC began hearings on June 18 for nine defendants
accused of attempting to help Azmi Jayousi, who was sentenced
to death in February for plotting a failed chemical attack
(ref C), escape from prison. Jayousi and six members of a
group who allegedly planned his breakout from Suwaqa prison
(south of Amman) at the beginning of March were present at
the trial, while defendants Mohammed Abu Darwish and Suleiman
al-Injadi were tried in absentia, according to press. The
court adjourned the trial after the defendants complained
that they could not afford a lawyer. They face charges
including possession of automatic weapons without a permit
and attempting to free a death-row convict (ref B).

FIVE ON TRIAL FOR PLOTS AGAINST ISRAEL
--------------------------------------

6. The SSC began the trial on May 14 of five Jordanians who
were arrested in January for plotting to infiltrate and carry
out attacks in Israel, and for possession of automatic
weapons to carry out illicit acts. If found guilty, the
defendants could face the death penalty. The case was
adjourned minutes after it opened because three of the
suspects had no defense lawyers. According to the charge
sheet, alleged ringleader Khaled Mohammad, 29, recruited the
others and plotted "to infiltrate Israel to carry out a
military operation against Jews" after failing to join the
insurgency in Iraq. Mohammad allegedly sold his wife's
jewelry to buy three Kalashnikov assault rifles, which he
used to train his accomplices.

SUSPECTS INDICTED FOR AIRPORT ATTACK PLOT
-----------------------------------------

7. On June 6, the SSC indicted seven Iraqi, Libyan and Saudi
suspects for plotting an Al-Qaeda linked
terrorist attack at Queen Alia International Airport. The
suspects, including three who remain at large, were charged
on two counts of "possessing unlicensed explosives for use in
illicit means, and conspiracy to carry out terrorist
attacks", judicial sources told press. No date has been set
for the trial. The prosecution claims that the defendants -
who could face the death penalty - had also planned to target
hotels located at the Dead Sea and at Aqaba "because they
were frequented by Americans and Jews."Authorities seized 3.6
kilograms of PE-4A heavy explosives when they arrested four
of the suspects in early March. According to court
documents, the defendants began plotting to carry out attacks
last year during meetings both in Jordan and Syria, and
through communications on the Internet.

FIVE CHARGED WITH PLOTTING TO JOIN IRAQ INSURGENTS
--------------------------------------------- -----

8. Jordan's state prosecutor on June 6 charged five suspects,
including Omar Jamil Nazzal al-Khalayleh -- a cousin of Abu
Mus,ab Al-Zarqawi -- with preparing to cross illegally into
Syria en route to joining anti-U.S. insurgents in Iraq. The
suspects, all Jordanians, are charged with carrying out
activity aimed at undermining ties with a foreign nation,
attempting an illegal crossing, and abetting such an attempt.
The suspects, if found guilty, could face prison sentences
of up to 15 years.

AL-MANSURAH DEFENDANTS RETRACT CONFESSIONS
------------------------------------------

9. On May 9, defendants in the Al-Ta'ifah Al-Mansurah
(Victorious Sect Organization) recanted their confessions,
which they claimed "were extracted under physical and moral
duress." Lawyers for the defendants called for acquitting
their clients for lack of evidence. Indicted in mid-March,
the eight defendants are charged with plotting to carry out
terrorist acts, affiliation with an illegal organization, and
carrying out acts that could undermine Jordan,s relations
with a foreign country (ref D). According to the charge
sheet, the defendants planned to carry out military actions
against U.S. trainers and Iraqi police cadets at the Jordan
International Police Training Center.
Rubinstein

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