Jordan has sentenced soldier Marik al-Tuwayha to a life in prison and hard labor after he killed three U.S. Army Green Berets in November.
Relatives of the killed Green Berets were hoping for a death sentence and stated that life in prison was not good enough, the Associated Press reports. The sentence will likely be dropped to 20 years with good behavior.
“I have all the respect for the king, but I was doing my job,” said al-Tuwayha, who pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder, as he was escorted out of the court.
In November, al-Tuwayha opened fire on the Green Berets after their vehicles approached the Jordanian al-Jafr airbase in the southern part of the country. He insisted that he was protecting the base, which he thought was coming under attack. During the trial, he testified that he harbored no animosity towards Americans.
While Jordan initially blamed the incident on Americans not following appropriate procedure, the trial concluded that Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen, Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe and Staff Sgt. James Moriarty did indeed abide by protocol.
Additionally, a review of the security footage reveals that a shooting battle that went on for six entire minutes, with the Green Berets repeatedly shouting, “We’re Americans! We’re friendly.”
“We are reassured to see the perpetrator brought to justice,” the U.S. Embassy in Jordan said in a statement.
“Despite this tragedy, Jordan remains a strategic partner,” the embassy added.
Al-Tuwayha’s defense lawyer intends to appeal the verdict.
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