Japan photojournalist sentenced in Jordan
A Japanese photographer was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison Sunday after a bomb he took from Iraq as a souvenir exploded and killed an airport security guard in Jordan.
Hiroki Gomi was passing through a security checkpoint at the Amman airport on May 1 when an X-ray machine detected the cluster bomb. The explosive detonated as a guard searched the bag, killing the man and wounding three people.
Gomi, of Japan's Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, said he didn't know the bomb was live. He was talking on his cell phone several feet away when it exploded.
"We take this verdict seriously and would like to express again our condolences to the relatives of the deceased and our apologies to those who were injured," the newspaper in a statement.
Yoshiaki Ito, deputy managing editor of Mainichi, said the trial was fair but that he planned to petition Jordan's King Abdullah II for a special amnesty.
"The main thing is to take Gomi back to his family," Ito told The Associated Press in Amman.
The Jordanian court convicted Gomi of negligence resulting in the guard's death and accidentally damaging property at the airport. He was acquitted of illegal possession of an explosive device because there was no evidence he intended harm.
Gomi's Jordanian translator, Abdul-Salam Hilweh, was acquitted on similar charges. Gomi had given him a similar bomblet, which was later destroyed.
Gomi and Hilweh, wearing light blue prison uniforms, stood silently as the verdicts were read. The courtroom was crowded with Japanese diplomats and journalists
Jerusalem Post Jun. 3, 2003
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AMMAN, Jordan