Jordan frees 4 prisoners transferred from Israel

The four were found guilty in 1990 of killing IDF soldiers in two separate attacks.

Jordan prisoners freed 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Jordan prisoners freed 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Four Jordanians who were convicted in Israel of killing IDF troops but transferred last year to serve out their time in the kingdom were released Wednesday in Jordan, four months ahead of time. Israel has objected to the release, seen as a development that could upset relations between the two Mideast neighbors who keep cordial ties since a 1994 peace treaty. The four were found guilty in 1990 of killing IDF soldiers in two separate attacks within Israel's borders and sentenced to life imprisonment. Three of them took part in a gunbattle that killed one Israeli soldier while the fourth man staged a separate attack the same year which killed another Israeli soldier. But under a deal last July with Jordan, Israel shortened their sentences without court proceedings, deciding they were to serve only 18 months more - which expire by the end of 2008. Israel also transferred them to Jordan so they could serve out their sentences at home. Jordanian Prime Minister Nader al-Dahabi said the early release is in line with Jordanian prison law, which counts one year in jail at nine months, especially for prisoners who show "good conduct." Israeli Embassy spokesman in Amman Itai Bardov said his country "explained to Jordan that we would have preferred to have their release postponed until the full 18 months are up." But he added that the Jordanian decision wouldn't affect relations and that his government doesn't "see this as an anti-Israeli move." The four released prisoners - Khaled Abu-Ghalyoun; his cousin, Salem Abu-Ghalyoun; Amin al-Sanee' and Sultan Ajlouni - were greeted with a celebration as they left the hilltop Qafqafa Penitentiary outside the northern city of Irbid. Family members and political activists, mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, ululated and embraced them as they waved Jordanian flags. The Jordanian Brotherhood opposes Jordan's ties with Israel. It has said the four prisoners committed no crime but sought to scare Israeli soldiers off the West Bank.