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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 14:41 GMT
Jordan jails Iraq militant agents
Eleven militants have been convicted in a Jordanian military court of running a network that recruited and smuggled fighters into Iraq to attack US forces.

Five of the suspects were sentenced in absentia to 15 years hard labour while six, under arrest since July 2005, were given between 20 months and four years.

Four other men were acquitted because of a lack of evidence.

Prosecutors said the eight Jordanians and seven Palestinians arranged for fighters to pass into Iraq from Syria.

The defendants protested against the verdict from the dock.

"You are the criminals," they said to the tribunal's three military judges.

According to prosecutors, one of the defendants, Hussein Fawzi Kudeisat - a Jordanian cleric still at large - preached in a mosque in Jordan, encouraging people to go to Iraq and fight the Americans.

Mr Kudeisat had asked the defendants to recruit militants and collect money for their travel expenses to Iraq via Syria, prosecutors said.

The guilty verdict can be appealed.

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