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Jordanian soldier who killed US trainers jailed for life

US soldiers pictured training in Jordan. [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 July, 2017

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A Jordanian soldier who killed three US military trainers last year was sentenced to life in prison by a military court.

A Jordanian soldier who killed three US military trainers last year was jailed for life on Monday by a Jordanian court.

The military court found Maarik al-Tawaiha, aged 39, guilty of shooting dead the US trainers on 4 November as they waited to enter the King Faisal base at al-Jafr in southern Jordan.

He was sentenced to "hard labour for life", a term which lasts 20 years but could extend to life in jail, a judicial official told AFP.

The soldier was also demoted from sergeant to second private and removed from military service.

The prosecution in June accused Tawaiha of "voluntary manslaughter" as well as "insulting the dignity and reputation of the armed forces and violating military orders".

The court heard evidence from forensic experts and guards at the base.

Tawaiha, who has been in custody since November, said that he opened fire on cars carrying the US trainers after hearing gunshots and suspecting an attack on the base.

A Jordanian soldier was also wounded in the shooting.

A US defence official described the incident as "green on blue", a term in the army for when friendly forces attack US personnel.

The charges did not indicate that he had ties to any militant groups.

Jordan hosts more than 2,200 US military personnel and is a key Washington ally and member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The King Faisal airbase hosts trainers of various nationalities, and tens of thousands of Iraqi, Yemeni, and Libyan forces have been trained in Jordan.

The shooting attack came one year after a police officer shot and wounded two US instructors, four Jordanians, and a Lebanese at a police training centre in Jordan before being killed.

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