Jordan’s military prosecutor demands death for 7 men charged with attacking US warships
The Associated PressAMMAN, Jordan – A Jordanian military prosecutor on Thursday demanded the death penalty for seven alleged militants charged with firing rockets at two U.S. warships docked in the Red Sea port of Aqaba.Three rockets fired from a warehouse in Aqaba’s suburbs last August missed the ships, but one killed a Jordanian soldier when it landed near the USS Ashland. Another hit a road in neighboring Eilat, Israel.”I appeal to the court to hand down its strongest punishment, which is execution, against each of the seven defendants,” the prosecutor said during closing arguments in the four-month trial.The prosecutor – whose name was withheld under orders from the military State Security Court – asked for unspecified penalties against five men charged with lesser crimes in the same case.The defense called for the acquittal of the 12 defendants for “lack of evidence.”The trial was adjourned until a verdict is delivered in the Aug. 19 attack, the most serious terror assault on the U.S. Navy since the 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen.A militant cell of al-Qaida in Iraq, led by slain Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the attack.Six of the 12 defendants are in Jordanian police custody and pleaded innocent in April. The other six – including three facing the more serious charges – are at large and believed to be hiding in Iraq. They are being tried in absentia.