Middle East

Jordan jails mentor of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Zarqawi

A prison van carrying Abu Mohammed al-Maqdessi at a military court in Amman, Jordan, 28 July 2011
Image caption Abu Mohammed al-Maqdessi is driven to the military court in Amman

The former mentor of Iraq's slain al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been sentenced to five years in prison in Jordan.

Abu Mohammed al-Maqdessi was convicted of recruiting people in Jordan to join the Taliban in Afghanistan.

He faced a military court with three fellow Palestinian-born Jordanians.

As the ruling was handed down, he shouted at the judges: "Even if you sentence us to death, we will continue to be fighters until the day we die."

Maqdessi - whose full name is Isam Mohammed Taher al-Barqawi - was often praised by al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US air strike north-east of Baghdad in 2006.

In 1995, the two men were jailed in Jordan for five years for membership of an outlawed Islamist organisation, but freed as part of a general amnesty in 1999.

They later fell out over "ideological differences", said aides quoted by the AFP news agency.

Three other men were tried alongside Maqdessi. The military court sentenced two of them to two-and-a-half years each, while a third was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.

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