AMMAN, Jordan — A military court Monday sentenced six Muslim militants to death by hanging for plotting terrorist attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets in Jordan during millennium celebrations. Four of the six remain at large.
The three-man State Security Court acquitted six other men and handed down prison terms ranging from 7 1/2 years to life for the remaining 16 defendants.
The ruling absolved all 28 men, including 12 fugitives tried in absentia, of "affiliation with an illegal organization"--Saudi militant Osama bin Laden's terrorist group, Al Qaida, or "the Base."
The accused had pleaded innocent, denied links to Bin Laden and claimed that their confessions were obtained under duress.
Of the 16 men appearing in court, 14 were Jordanians of Palestinian origin, one was an Iraqi and the other an Algerian. Two of the 16 were sentenced to death.
Jordanian officials had maintained that the men made up a sophisticated group with a global network behind them. However, Col. Tayel Raqad, the presiding judge, said the men weren't organized and were "merely exchanging ideas on carrying out terrorist attacks against Jews."
He said the six sentenced to die "had a determined will to carry out terrorist attacks against American and Jewish interests in Jordan."