Trial begins for suspect in shooting death of British tourist in Jordan

The trial began Wednesday for a man charged with fatally shooting a British tourist and wounding six others at a Roman amphitheater in Jordan last month.

Nabeel Ahmed Issa Jaourah, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, is accused of killing British tourist Christopher Stokes and wounding five other Western tourists, plus a Jordanian policeman.

He faces death by hanging if convicted on charges of carrying out terrorist attacks, murder and illegal possession of a weapon.

Wednesday's proceedings quickly adjourned until an unspecified date to allow the court to appoint a lawyer for Jaourah.

The 38-year-old defendant, sporting a beard and wearing a dark blue prison uniform, told the judge he couldn't afford a lawyer and asked the court for help finding one.

Witnesses said Jaourah shouted the Muslim battle cry of "Allahu akbar!" or "God is great!" as he sprayed pistol shots at the group of foreign tourists at Amman's Roman Amphitheater, a favorite haunt of Western sightseers. He was then overpowered and arrested.

The Jordanian government says that while in custody, Jaourah told his interrogators that he wanted to avenge the deaths of his two brothers who died in an Israeli raid on Lebanon in 1982. He waited more than 20 years, because he wanted his five children to grow up first, the government has said.

The Sept. 4 attack was the first major terror assault since triple hotel suicide blasts last November killed 63 people, including three Iraqi bombers. The militant group al-Qaida in Iraq has claimed responsibility for those attacks, reports AP.

Jordan said Jaourah's attack was an "individual act" and that the gunman had "no links with domestic or foreign" terror networks. But prosecutors still charged him with terrorism, saying he "terrorized" the tourists.