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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 11:19 GMT
Death sentence for Jordan terror suspect
Relatives of six men sentenced to death in absentia
Jordan sentenced five other terror suspects in abstentia
A Jordanian military court has sentenced a Jordanian-American man to death for conspiring to commit terrorist attacks against American and Israeli tourists during the 2000 New Year celebrations.

You are worse than Sharon, he kills Palestinians in Palestine and you kill Muslims here

Raed Hijazi
Raed Hijazi was sentenced on several counts, including conspiring to explode bombs and possession of arms and explosives.

But Hijazi, who denied the charges, was cleared of links to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network.

He told the court that he considered the verdict an attempt to gain more aid from the United States.

Shouting "God is great", Hijazi compared the judges to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"You are worse than Sharon," he said. "He kills Palestinians in Palestine and you kill Muslims here."

US list

Hijazi, 33, a former taxi driver in the US city of Boston, is said to have been an aid worker helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan in the early 1990s.

He reportedly received training in making explosives at a guerrilla camp in Afghanistan run by al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Hijazi was arrested in Syria in October 2000, a month after being tried and sentenced in absentia with five others.

His name appeared on a US list of terror suspects published after the 11 September attacks.

He confessed to the charges in custody, but since the beginning of the trial his lawyers have maintained that the confession was obtained under duress.

The verdict is subject to appeal.

See also:

18 Sep 00 | Middle East
Jordan militants sentenced to death
17 Feb 00 | Middle East
Jordanian suspects linked to bin Laden
08 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Jordan
08 Feb 02 | Middle East
Timeline: Jordan
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