Middle East

Jordan executes 15 prisoners, 10 convicted of terror charges

A close up aerial photograph of the front of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad in 2003 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jordan said the prisoners executed involved those responsible for an attack on its embassy in Baghdad in 2003

Jordan has executed 15 prisoners, including 10 convicted of terrorism charges, officials say.

The prisoners, all Jordanians, were hanged at dawn on Saturday in a jail south of the capital, Amman.

The five not found guilty of terrorism offences had been convicted of rape and sexual assault.

It is the largest round of executions in Jordan in many years. The country had imposed a moratorium on capital punishment between 2006 and 2014.

Correspondents say the change in policy was triggered by a rise in crime as well as the growing threat from jihadist groups such as so-called Islamic State (IS), which controls areas of neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

The executed included those convicted for the attacks on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad in 2003, on tourists at the Roman amphitheatre in Amman in 2006, on intelligence officers in the Baqaa refugee camp in 2016, and the killing of writer Nahid Hattar, also last year, Information Minister Muhammad Momani told the Petra news agency.

Human rights group Amnesty International condemned the executions.

"The horrific scale and secrecy around these executions is shocking," Samah Hadid, deputy director at the group's Beirut office, said in a statement.

"This is a major step backwards for both Jordan and efforts to end the death penalty - a senseless and ineffective means of administering justice."

Jordan is one of several Middle Eastern countries that have retained capital punishment.

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