Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Jordan sentences solider who killed three U.S. trainers to life in prison

Jordan sentences solider who killed three U.S. trainers to life in prison

According to Jordanian news outlet al-Ghad, the soldier who shot three U.S. military trainers last November in al-Jafer airbase in Ma'aan governorate has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Jordanian military court.

Jordanian military officials said the soldier opened fire on the USA trainers after they failed to stop at a military base checkpoint, but the us embassy refuted that claim.

The victims were 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen of Kirksville, Missouri; 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe of Tucson, Arizona; and 27-year-old Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty of Kerrville, Texas.

He was also found guilty of disobedience of military orders and dishonorably discharged.

The official Jordan News Agency reported the court sentenced Tuwayha to life imprisonment and hard labor.

"I have all the respect for the king", he said, "but I was doing my job".

The defendant has said he felt no animosity toward Americans and opened fire because he believed the base was coming under attack.

They were killed November 4 when their convoy was waiting in line at the gate to the al-Jafr base in southern Jordan.

Relatives of two of the dead soldiers sat quietly as the judge announced his ruling in a crowded courtroom. Relatives of the slain USA soldiers also had criticized Jordan's handling of the case. Jordan allows the death penalty, but it is usually handed down in terrorism cases or in a murder coupled with another crime. The kingdom hosts several hundred US contractors, and allows the United States to use Jordanian airfields. "We are reassured to see the perpetrator brought to justice".

Jordan is a close ally to the US and is a member of the USA -led anti-ISIL coalition.

USA forces have trained a small group of vetted Syrian rebels in Jordan, and American instructors have also trained Palestinian security forces inside the kingdom. Three of the gate guards said they held their fire, but Tuwayha, who was in the guard house at the time, opened fire from inside before walking out and continuing to shoot.

The accused soldier was tried for first-degree murder and pled not guilty.

At that moment, there was "a low sound of gunfire from a distant and unknown source".

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

Like this: