Jordan hangs 15 convicts at dawn, most in years

Prisoners, all Jordanians, convicted of ‘terrorism’ offences and rape hanged in Suaga prison, south of the capital.

Ten prisoners executed were part of the "Irbid terror cell" which was responsible for a number of attacks in Jordan [AP]

Jordan hanged 15 death row prisoners at dawn on Saturday, in a further break with a moratorium on executions it had observed between 2006 and 2014.

Ten were convicted of “terror” offences, including attacks on tourists, a writer, and security forces. Five others were convicted of crimes including rape, Mahmud al-Momani, Jordanian information minister told the official Petra news agency.

The group of 10 were part of the so-called “Irbid terror cell”, which was responsible for several attacks.

In 2005, King Abdullah II said Jordan aimed to become the first Middle Eastern country to stop carrying out executions, in line with most European countries.

Courts continued to hand down death sentences, but they were not carried out.

But public opinion blamed a rise in crime on the policy and in December 2014 Jordan hanged 11 men convicted of murder, drawing criticism from human rights groups.

Opinion hardened after the murder by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group of captured Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh whose plane had crashed in a rebel-held region of Syria in December 2014.

Grisly footage posted in February the following year of him being burned alive in a cage outraged the public.

READ MORE: Will Jordan lead ISIL to the ‘gates of hell’?

Jordan swiftly hanged two people convicted of “terrorism” offences, including Sajida al-Rishawi.

She had taken part in a 2005 suicide attack on luxury hotels in Amman organised by ISIL’s forebear, al-Qaeda in Iraq, but her explosives failed to detonate.

Jordan is part of a US-led military coalition that has been carrying out air raids against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

Source: News Agencies