EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 16/06/94
UA 451/94 Death Penalty 22 December 1994
JORDAN Abdullah Hashaikeh
Isma'il al-'Amayra, 28
Zakharia Qassem, 23
Muhammad 'Ali 'Issa, 25
Muhammad Ahmad al-'Atharba, 25
Suleiman 'Abd al-'Aal, 22
Samir Taylakh, 23
Yassin Zahra, 20
Muhammad Ahmad al-Harithi, Omani national, sentenced in absentia
Yahya 'Uwaydat Muhammad al-Shawarkah, Jordanian national, sentenced in
Hamed Jamal Khalifah, Saudi Arabian national, sentenced in absentia
Amnesty International is concerned about the sentencing to death of 11 people
by the State Security Court on 21 December, on charges of taking part in a
plot to overthrow the government, and through bombings on public and private
institutions during 1993. Three of the 11 sentenced to death were tried in
absentia, having evaded capture.
The death sentences will be reviewed before the Court of Cassation and if upheld,
must be ratified by King Hussain bin Talal before they may be carried out.
Three others tried at the same time had their death sentences commuted to life
imprisonment, with hard labour, four defendants were given jail sentences,
ranging between seven and 20 years, and seven were acquitted.
Following the sentencing Hafez Amin, president of the court said, "We have
not been unjust to them, they have done injustice to themselves."
The trial of these 25 people began on 18 July. Many of the defendants are veterans
of the Afghan war, where they fought with Islamist resistance groups before
the overthrow of the Soviet-backed government in 1992. Hence the trial has
become known as the trial of the "Arab Afghans".
Some 16 of the defendants had retracted confessions which they claim to have
made as a result of torture; all the defendants had pleaded innocence at the
start of the trial.
During 1994 Amnesty International has repeatedly expressed its concerns to
the Jordanian authorities about the increase in the use of the death penalty.
At least seven executions have taken place this year with 12 executions during
1993, the highest number for two decades. Others remain on death row.
Amnesty International does not condone crimes of violence, and recognizes the
responsibility of governments to bring the perpetrators to justice. However,
it opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation of the right to life
and of the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment
as specified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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