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Defense Lawyers Say Sept. 11 Exploited in Terror Trial

January 01, 2002|From Reuters

AMMAN, Jordan — Jordanian lawyers defending a California-born man charged with plotting attacks on U.S. targets on orders of Osama bin Laden accused prosecutors Monday of exploiting the Sept. 11 attacks.

Raed Hijazi was charged last year along with 27 other suspected followers of Bin Laden of planning to attack Western and Israeli tourists in Jordan during millennium celebrations.

He was convicted in absentia and given the death sentence, which was commuted to life imprisonment.

Jordanian law requires that suspects convicted in absentia be retried if caught. Syria extradited Hijazi to Jordan and his retrial began in May. He denies the charges.

Defense lawyer Hani Abdul Qader said prosecutors had harnessed the publicity surrounding Bin Laden's Al Qaeda network to help secure a conviction.

He said the prosecution had charged Hijazi with membership in the outlawed group even though that charge had been dropped in his previous conviction.

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