x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Jordanian soldier convicted in killing of three US troops

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

Maarik Al Tawaiha is led out of a military court in Amman on July 17, 2017 after being sentenced to life for the killing of three American military trainers outside an army base in southern Jordan last year. Khalil Mazraawi / AFP
Maarik Al Tawaiha is led out of a military court in Amman on July 17, 2017 after being sentenced to life for the killing of three American military trainers outside an army base in southern Jordan last year. Khalil Mazraawi / AFP

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 said at the courthouse.

The court also demoted the soldier from sergeant to second private and threw him out of military service.

Al Tawaiha, who wore a suit throughout the hearing, had been in custody since November but denied the charge.

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

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".

Al Tawaiha said 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 King Faisal airbase hosts trainers of various nationalities including Americans, an official said.

The incident came a year after a police officer wounded two American instructors, four Jordanians and a Lebanese in a shooting at a Jordanian police training centre before being shot dead.

Jordan, which hosts some 2,200 American military personnel, is a key Washington ally and a member of the US-led coalition fighting ISIL.

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