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Jul 18, 3:21 PM EDT

Protests over conviction of Jordanian in US troop deaths

AP Photo
AP Photo/Reem Saad

AL-JAFR, Jordan (AP) -- Hundreds of people in southern Jordan have protested the conviction of a local soldier in the shooting deaths of three U.S. military trainers.

The U.S. troops were killed in November at the gate to the al-Jafr air base when their convoy came under fire. A Jordanian military court sentenced 1st Sgt. Marik al-Tuwayha to life in prison on Monday.

On Tuesday, protesters blocked roads to the town of al-Jafr with burning tires and staged a sit-in.

Members of the soldier's tribe claimed, without presenting evidence, that he was a scapegoat, and that there had been a deadly clash between U.S. troops and Syrian rebels they were training.

The defendant testified that he opened fire because he believed he had heard a pistol shot and feared the base was being attacked.

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