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Jordanian sentenced to life for killing USA trainers

Jordanian sentenced to life for killing USA trainers

A Jordanian military court sentenced a soldier to life imprisonment with hard labor on Monday for the fatal shooting of three U.S. Green Berets in November of a year ago, local media reported.

First Sergeant Marik al-Tuwayha was accused of shooting the American soldiers, who were staying on the base to train Jordanian troops.

The violence was also particularly alarming because it echoed a November 2015 episode in which a Jordanian police captain killed two Americans, along with two fellow Jordanians and a South African, at a police training center in Amman, the capital.

Tawaiha, who has been in custody since November, said that he opened fire on cars carrying the USA trainers after hearing gunshots and suspecting an attack on the base.

Jordan and the US are close allies, and the incident added strain to the relationship.

But video footage of the shooting, described by the relatives who have seen it, said the shooting lasted six minutes, and shows the defendant reloading his gun and shooting at the Americans, even as they waved their hands and yelled, "We're Americans!"

Jordan, which hosts some 2,200 American military personnel, is a key American ally and a member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

On Monday, a Jordanian Military Court issued a guilty verdict against Cpl.

"Attacks on Americans are not only limited to ISIS", said Amer Al Sabaileh, a political analyst on Middle Eastern affairs.

A Jordanian soldier who killed three USA military trainers a year ago was jailed for life on Monday by a Jordanian court. He said the US respects Jordan's military process and praised Jordan for adhering to its own laws in resolving the case expeditiously.

Surveillance video of the encounter was not publicly screened, but was shown to relatives of the victims.

Al-Tuwayha has said he had "no intention of killing anyone" and felt no resentment toward Americans.

Some of the relatives have questioned why the video was not screened at the trial and why the court did not ask a surviving USA soldier to testify, despite what they said was his willingness to do so. It said that all three had been following "established procedures for entering the gate".

In Jordan, life in prison can mean 20 years, with time off for good behavior.

Al-Tuwayha's defense lawyer intends to appeal the verdict.

Jordan is a major USA ally in the region.


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