- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 5, 2003

AMMAN, Jordan, Jan. 5 (UPI) — Jordan's State Security Court on Sunday sentenced to death for the third time a Jordanian-American on charges of terrorism-related activities.

The military court convicted Raed Hijazi, 32, guilty of possessing and manufacturing explosive material, as well as possessing unlicensed automatic weapons "with the intent for illicit use."

The tribunal's death sentence was the third against Hijazi, a former Boston taxi driver. The suspect was sentenced to death in absentia in 2000, along with a number of others, who were later acquitted after a higher civilian appeals court overturned the military court's verdict. The State Security court tried Hijazi a second time in late 2001 after Syrian authorities extradited him to Jordan. It sentenced him to death in February 2002.

But the Court of Cassation overturned the military court's ruling in October, citing insufficient evidence linking Hijazi with possession or manufacture of explosives "for illicit use," allegedly for attacks against Israelis in the kingdom.

The appeals court asked the State Security Court to present more evidence or acquit the suspect.

In Sunday's verdict, the military court said the authorities seized explosive material at a farm outside Amman on information from Hijazi's brother, "for intended military operations against the Jews in Jordan."

It said that the court adopted its decision based on "logical deduction" from the information and witness testimonies.

U.S. Embassy officials who monitored Hijazi's trial, would not comment on the ruling.

Although he was convicted of the charges, the State Security Court last year acquitted Hijazi of other charges, including alleged affiliation with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida network and "conspiring to carry out terrorist acts."

His lawyers said they intended to appeal the verdict again, insisting that Hijazi was innocent of the charges.




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