updated 7/11/2007 10:53:28 AM ET 2007-07-11T14:53:28

Jordan’s military court convicted and sentenced two militants Wednesday to prison with hard labor for plotting to attack Americans living in the kingdom.

Sameeh al-Hotari, 25, who was born in Kuwait, was sentenced to eight years in prison with hard labor, and Mohammed Shehada, 25, a Jordanian, was sentenced to three years with hard labor.

The court initially sentenced al-Hotari, who also was convicted of possessing a Kalashnikov gun, to life in jail with hard labor but then reduced the sentence to give him time to repent.

When the verdict was read out, Shehada knelt and kissed the floor. The verdict can be appealed.

Shehada and al-Hotari allegedly decided to avenge Muslims “who suffer from the Americans” and planned to kill an American man who lived in a suburb of the Jordanian capital, Amman. The court did not identify the American.

The two men began watching the American in August 2006 but were arrested before they could try to kill him, the prosecution had said.

The two men were accused of plotting to kill other Americans, but the indictment did not give specifics about their plans.

Bush called to testify?
In a separate trial, the lawyer for three Jordanian militants charged with plotting to assassinate President Bush during his visit to Jordan in November urged the court to call on Bush and the U.S. ambassador to Jordan to testify at the hearing.

The military tribunal said it would study the demand by lawyer Abdul Karim Sharaydeh, and the hearing was adjourned until July 18.

Suspects Nidhal Musleh al-Momani, Sattam al-Zawahrah and Tharwat Daraj are also charged with plotting to carry out terrorist attacks and illegal possession of explosives. They alleged that their confession of guilt was extracted under torture.

The military court also reopened the case of 13 men, including Jordanians, Syrians and Palestinians, who allegedly conspired to attack sites in Jordan in 2004 by setting off a cloud of toxic chemicals that would have killed thousands of people.

The court is retrying the case after an appeals court rejected their initial guilty verdict, saying that the military prosecutor, whom the al-Qaida-linked cell allegedly plotted to kill, was the one who carried out the investigation and could not be fair. That hearing was adjourned until Sept. 5.

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