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Jordan Hangs Terrorist Convicts in Message to Jihadists

(AFP) AMMAN — Jordan hanged 15 death row prisoners at dawn on Saturday, its information minister said, in a further break with the moratorium on executions it had observed between 2006 and 2014.

Ten of those put to death had been convicted of terrorism offences and five of “heinous” crimes including rape, Mahmud al-Momani told the official Petra news agency.

All of those hanged were Jordanians and they were hanged in Suaga prison south of the capital Amman.

King Abdullah II had said in 2005 that Jordan aimed to become the first Middle Eastern country to halt executions in line with most European countries.

Courts continued to hand down death sentences but they were not carried out.

But public opinion blamed a rise in crime on the policy and in December 2014 Jordan hanged 11 men convicted of murder, drawing criticism from human rights groups.

Opinion hardened after the murder by the Islamic State group of captured Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh whose plane had crashed in a jihadist-held region of Syria in December 2014 while serving with a US-led coalition.

Grisly footage posted in February the following year of him being burnt alive in a cage outraged the public.

Swiftly afterwards, Jordan hanged two people convicted of terrorism offences, one of them Sajida al-Rishawi.

She had taken part in a 2005 suicide attack on luxury hotels in Amman organised by IS’s forebear, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but her explosives failed to detonate.

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