Jordanian authorities fear that failed suicide bomber Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, who was taken into custody this week, may try, but fail, to harm herself in prison. “We’re very concerned for her safety,” a Jordanian prison official explained. “Much more concerned than she is in fact.”
Rishawi will be kept under 24 hour observation in an “suicide proof” cell with no sheets or sharp objects and only a bed, toilet and a vest packed with 3kg of explosives that has already been proved totally harmless. But prison psychologist Marwan Mejdi said Rishawi is unlikely to harm herself unless she is in the presence of hundreds of innocent civilians.
Rishawi tried to blow herself up at the Raddison SAS hotel in Amman last week along with three other, more successful, suicide bombers including her husband, Ali Hussein Ali Shamari. “It’s just typical of Ali to blow himself up, leaving me to clean up the mess,” Rishawi complained. “He didn’t even put the garbage out before we left to kill ourselves.”
Rishawi wanted to avenge the deaths of her two brothers and brother-in-law, who were killed by US forces in Iraq. “Exploding myself at a Muslim wedding in Jordan just seemed liked the obvious way to get back at the Americans,” she explained. “At least it did at the time.”
If convicted, which seems likely after she made a nationally televised confession, Rishawi has asked to be allowed to carry out the death penalty on herself. Officials will consider the request, although they say her offer to carry it out by detonating a explosive vest that would kill everyone within a 20m radius is unlikely to be taken up.