Jordan opens trial of al-Qaida-linked militants

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Four men allegedly affiliated with al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Syria have pleaded not guilty at their opening trial in Jordan.

The Palestinian and three Jordanians are charged with undermining relations with Syria, punishable by up to five years in jail.

The four appeared in Jordan’s military court Monday, the first time their case went public.

A military prosecutor said the four posed as Syrian refugees when they crossed the Syrian-Jordanian border separately over the summer.

He said they were arrested at the same border area where they crossed into Syria last year to join the Nusra Front.

Counterterrorism officials say nearly 400 Jordanians — including 60 who died in battle — have joined the rebels in Syria.

The prosecutor insisted on anonymity under rules banning him from public comment.

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