Jordan executes 15 people, ten of them for terror offences

Jordan on Saturday executed 10 men convicted of terrorism charges, including deadly attacks on tourists, Jordanian security forces and a local writer, the government spokesman said.

It was the largest number of executions since Jordan began a crackdown on Islamist extremists more than two years ago.

The men were hanged at a correctional center south of Amman.

Also among the 10 was a gunman convicted of firing at a group of Western tourists near the Roman amphitheatre in downtown Amman in 2006, killing one Briton and injuring five other people, the judicial source added.

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.

They also included the September 2016 murder of Christian writer Nahed Hattar as he stood trial for publishing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam. A British man was killed in the attack. They signaled to potential attackers that they can expect harsh punishment and reminded ordinary Jordanians buckling under price increases that their country faces a serious security threat, he said.

Hundreds of Jordanians have been detained or sentenced to prison since then, including those expressing support for IS on social media. However, there has been a rise in attacks in Jordan linked to Islamic extremists over the past year.

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.

"The scale of today's mass executions is shocking and it's a big step backwards on human rights protection in Jordan", Samah Hadid, deputy director of Amnesty International's Beirut regional office, told Reuters.

  • Leroy Wright