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Jordan appeals court upholds death sentence of failed suicide bomber

[JURIST] A Jordanian appeals court has upheld a military court's death sentence [JURIST report] for a would-be Iraqi suicide bomber who attempted to detonate a suicide bomb as part of a series of 2005 deadly hotel bombings in Amman. Sajida al-Rishawi was convicted in December along with six others who were tried in absentia of conspiracy to carry out a terrorist act causing death and destruction and illegal possession of weapons and explosives; al-Rishawi was the only defendant present for the trial. The attack in which she took part killed 60 people at a wedding party. Her husband's suicide belt went off as planned but her own failed to explode. Her death sentence can now only be overturned by Jordan's King Abdullah [official website]. Jordan executes some 10 convicts per year for serious crimes.

In the wake of the 2005 bombings, Jordan's National Assembly [official website] passed a controversial new anti-terrorism bill [JURIST report] that opposition parties have said is tantamount to "martial law" [JURIST report] and an impermissible curb on civil liberties. A top UN official has encouraged the Jordanian authorities to revisit the legislation [JURIST report] to address rights issues.

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