Jordanian Court Upholds Death Sentence for Female Bomber

35-year-old Sajida al-Rishawi sentenced to death for role in triple hotel bombing led by al-Qaida that killed 60 people.

Jordan's highest court rejected an appeal by an Iraqi woman sentenced to death for her role in the al-Qaida-led triple hotel bombing that killed 60 people in Jordan's worst terror attack, according to court documents obtained Saturday.

35-year-old Sajida al-Rishawi was intended to be one of the suicide bombers in the November 9, 2005 attack. She entered a hotel ballroom with her husband, both strapped with explosives belts. Her husband set off his belt, ripping through a wedding party in the room.

Initially, al-Rishawi said in a televised confession that her own belt failed to detonate and she fled, but she later told her trial that she was an unwilling participant in the attacks and never tried to set off her blast.

Al-Rishawi was one of seven defendants in the case. The other six remain at large and were tried in absentia last year in Jordan's military court. Like al-Rishawi, the six were sentenced to death by hanging last September. Al-Rishawi appealed her sentence immediately.

But Jordan's Appeals court said it ratified the military court's death sentence because al-Rishawi was guilty beyond doubt of possessing explosives and having had the intention and the will to carry out terrorist attacks whose outcome is destruction and death.

The appeals court's decision is final, but it can be overturned by Jordan's King Abdullah II, the ultimate authority in the kingdom.

An average of 10 people - mostly men - are executed each year for crimes that include terrorism and premeditated murder.