A Jordanian court has sentenced five people to between three and five years in jail for being members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and promoting the armed group on the Internet.
Two other trials of suspected supporters of the group, including a man accused of operating as a cook for al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, also got underway on Monday as part as a crackdown on fighters.
The five men were found guilty of “promoting … terrorist organisations,” a reference to ISIL, and of belonging to such groups, the court heard.
One of those convicted, Ahmad Abu Ghalluss, was given three extra months in jail, on top of his five-year sentence, for slamming US President Barack Obama’s “war on terror”.
“I am with IS and you, enemies of God, are with Obama,” Ghalluss shouted in the courtroom after the ruling was delivered.
Jordan is one of five Arab States supporting US-led air strikes against the armed groups in Syria and Iraq.
Since the start of the air campaign at the end of September, Jordan has arrested at least 130 ISIL sympathisers, lawyer Mussa Abdalat told the AFP news agency last week.
Abdalat, who represented the defendents, said most of those behind bars are members of Salafist groups which adhere to a strict Sunni interpretation of Islam.
Jordan, which shares borders with Iraq and Syria where ISIL has declared an Islamic “caliphate” on territory it controls, has for years struggled with homegrown fighters.
On Monday, the trial began of a man who reportedly left the country “illegally” in July 2013 to join al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, the al-Nusra Front.
The suspect, Hammam Badr, 31, told the judge he was tasked with “cooking for Nusra fighters” but decided to quit and return home just 10 days after joining them “because I did not like the conditions there”.
Another suspect also appeared in court accused of pledging allegiance to ISIL chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdad on his Facebook page.