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15 convicted criminals, terrorists executed on Saturday

Death row prisoners hung at dawn, to ‘bring justice to victims’

By Rana Husseini - Mar 04,2017 - Last updated at Mar 04,2017

AMMAN — Fifteen men, including 10 convicted of terrorism, were executed by authorities on Saturday, official sources said.

“We have carried out the execution of 15 men who were convicted of acts of terrorism that led to the death of individuals as well as heinous murders and sexual assaults against men, women and children,” Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani told The Jordan Times.

Momani, also minister of state for media affairs, added: “This is an attempt to bring justice to the victims of those terrorists who threatened our national security. Anyone who will dare engage in terrorist activities against Jordan will face the same destiny.”

The largest in the country’s history, Saturday’s executions were carried out after a long wait since Jordan executed two convicted Iraqi terrorists, Sajida Rishawi and Ziad Al Karboli in February 2015. The two inmates were hanged a day after the release of a video showing the killing of Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh by the Daesh terror group.

Rishawi, who was 44 when she was executed, was convicted by the State Security Court in September 2006 of plotting terror attacks against three hotels in Amman in November 2005, which had left more than 60 people dead and around 90 injured.

Karboli’s death sentence was upheld by the Cassation Court in June 2008 after he was convicted of killing a Jordanian truck driver in Iraq in September 2005, possessing explosives as well as belonging to an illegal organisation, called Tawhid and Jihad, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Iraq.

In December 2014, 11 men were executed in a move seen by many as a sign of reinstating the death penalty in the Kingdom. The capital punishment had been frozen in Jordan since March 2006.

Saturday’s executions, carried out at Swaqa Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre started at 4am and ended at 7:45am, said a senior official source, who was part of a government team attending the executions.

“The majority of the executed, clad in red uniforms, were calm, with one asking to pray before being executed and another asking his family to pay his debt,” added the source, who preferred anonymity.

The hangings were carried out without trouble, according to the source. “We did not face any issues with the convicted or the procedure itself,” he told The Jordan Times.

“The executions are carried out after the Cassation Court upholds the State Security Court’s and Criminal Court’s rulings. Afterwards, the file is sent to the Cabinet for endorsement. Finally, a Royal Decree has to be issued to approve the execution,” the source explained.

Before any execution is carried out, “the attorney general reviews the files for one last time to make sure procedures are correct, and that there has been no last minute settlement between the victims’ families and the defendant”, which automatically leads to cancelling the death punishment and replacing it with a prison term. 

Asked by The Jordan Times if more executions were scheduled, Momani declined to comment but stated that “justice will eventually prevail on those who commit murders and terrorist acts”.

Less than 100 people, including around 10 women, are currently on death row in Jordan, according to the minister.

The issue of capital punishment has drawn a heated debate in Jordan between activists who oppose the death penalty, and officials and lawyers who believe it should stay, supported by a broad section of the public opinion.

Saturday’s executions were met with strong objection and dismay by international organisations.

Human rights group Amnesty International described the executions in a statement as “horrific and shocking”.

“The horrific scale of these executions and secrecy around them are shocking,” said Samah Hadid, deputy director at Amnesty’s Beirut regional office.

“This is a major step backwards for both Jordan and efforts to end the death penalty — a senseless and ineffective way of administering justice. Jordan had for years been a leading example in a region where recourse to the death penalty is all too frequent,” the Amnesty statement said.

“There is no evidence that the death penalty addresses violent crimes, including terrorist-related acts. Hanging people will not improve public security,” the statement added.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty at all times and regardless of who is accused, the nature of the crime, guilt or innocence or the method of execution, the statement said.

Meanwhile, many Jordanians hailed the executions on social media.

Munir Issa commented on Facebook following the execution, saying it was “well-deserved”.


Dua Hanafieh also praised the executions on Facebook, saying it was the right thing to do for anyone who would kill a man, woman or a child and “threaten the safety and security of our society”.

165 users have voted.

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