Jordanian sentenced to life for killing United States trainers


A Jordanian court on Monday sentenced a soldier to life imprisonment over the killing of three American military trainers outside an army base past year. He said the USA respects Jordan's military process and praised Jordan for adhering to its own laws in resolving the case expeditiously.

The defendant, al-Tuwayha, as well as some other gate guards on duty that night, testified that they heard what might have been a gun shot coming from the direction of the USA convey.

Tawaiha, who was in a guard post at the gate, told the court he had opened fire on the cars carrying the American trainers because he suspected an attack on the base.

Jordan, a Middle East monarchy, is a key US ally, providing Washington with an area of operations that has relative stability and a strategic location that has allowed it to work toward its aims in the Syrian civil war and the fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), carrying out bombing raids from Jordanian airfields. But the other guards testified that they held their fire because they were unsure of the source.

Al-Tuwayha has said he had "no intention of killing anyone" and felt no resentment towards Americans.

The defendant kept shooting, they said.

Family members of the killed service members, who were in Jordan for the trial, told the AP that they had been shown surveillance footage of the shooting by USA law enforcement officials.

According to Reuters, after the head of the military court read the verdict on Monday, the soldier shouted: "I only did my duty!" About 2,000 USA troops are in Jordan.

In the letter, a copy of which was given to the AP, Moriarty listed several demands to Jordan.

Cynthia Lewellen, 53, the mother of Matthew Lewellen, expressed sympathy for all those affected by the shooting, including the family of the defendant. His lawyer said the defense respects the court's decision, but that the verdict will be appealed.

Earlier this year, a Jordanian soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in a 1997 shooting rampage was released after 20 years.