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French Version

Jordanian authorities put down uprising at prison

An inmate was killed and several people injured at a prison north of Amman on Thursday when Islamist prisoners clashed with police, a government spokesman said. "The mutiny is over and security forces completely control the prison in Qafqafa," 50 kilometers from the capital, a government official said. "A number of security men and inmates were injured ... their injuries are superficial to moderate. And an inmate died on his way to hospital."

The dead man was identified as Khaled Fawzi Ali al-Bashtawi, who was serving an 18-month sentence for conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.

A security source said earlier that Islamist prisoners had taken two policemen hostage during clashes which erupted when police tried to enter cells to enforce solitary confinement.

One of the prisoners, an Islamist named Abdel-Shehadeh Hamed al-Tahawi, used a mobile telephone to call Al-Jazeera television and say "two members of security" had been taken hostage.

Tahawi, 50, said that a 1,000-strong security force had entered the jail to try to "kidnap two inmates" and fired tear gas when some prisoners put up resistance. He identified the two as Fahed Nouman, under a death sentence for a terrorist bombing near the Iraqi border, and Mohammad Derbas, jailed for attempting to free another prisoner, Azmi Jayyussi, on March 1. He said one inmate had been wounded by a gunshot.

The government spokesman said violence erupted when some prisoners tried to stop security forces from searching their cells for drugs and sharp weapons. He made no mention of hostages.

Witnesses said they saw ambulances speed down the main highway near the prison. The jail was surrounded by 100 police and the area cordoned off, they said.

The clashes were the second between inmates and policemen in six weeks. In early March, prisoners loyal to Al-Qaeda took a prison chief and six policemen hostage during riots at three jails against the transfer of two inmates convicted of killing a U.S. diplomat.

Islamist sources said the prisoners released the policemen after promises that they would not be punished. The two inmates were hanged 10 days later for the assassination.

Last year, detainees held several protests against what they said were poor conditions and ill-treatment.

Amman,17April2006
Redaction
The Daily Star


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