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15-year sentence for bank robber upheld

By Rana Husseini - Jun 19,2019 - Last updated at Jun 19,2019

AMMAN — The Court of Cassation upheld an October State Security Court (SSC) ruling sentencing a man to 15 years in prison after convicting him of robbing a bank with a plastic gun and fake explosives in Amman in April 2018.

The court declared the defendant guilty of theft and carrying out acts that would endanger the safety of society, disturbing public order, spreading fear among citizens, endangering the lives of the bank employees and jeopardising economic resources and handed him the maximum punishment.

Court papers said the defendant, a retired military officer, decided to make quick cash by robbing a bank and decided to rob the Arab Bank branch located on Mecca Street on April 9, 2018 after surveying it a day earlier.

“Wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, gloves and a mask, the defendant entered the branch in the early morning hours while carrying fake explosives and a plastic gun and demanded cash,” court documents said.

The defendant waved a plastic gun and a fake bomb at the bank teller and placed several fake dynamite sticks made of carton paper on the bank’s counter and kept one in his hands, court papers said.

“Customers rushed out of the bank out of panic and fear,” the court documents added.

The defendant shouted that he would detonate the (fake) explosives if the employees did not give him the money, court documents added.

“The defendant handed them a black bag and the tellers placed JD19,500 [in it]. He waved his mobile and threatened them not to call the police saying he would detonate the explosive via his cell phone,” the court documents said.

The defendant escaped with JD19.500, while all the bank employees ran outside the premises fearing that the (fake) dynamite sticks might explode any minute, court papers added.

“Bank employees immediately called the police and they contacted explosives experts who determined that all the dynamite sticks were fake,” court papers added.

The defendant, through his lawyer, contested the court’s ruling arguing that “there were violation in the interrogation process, including not allowing the defendant to have a lawyer present while being questioned”.

The defendant’s lawyer also contested the fact that the SSC refused to refer her client to the National Institute of Psychiatric Medicine (NIPM) for a mental evaluation.
However, the higher court ruled that the SSC followed the proper procedures and the defendant deserved the verdict he received.

“The charges that were levelled against the defendant do not require the presence of a lawyer in preliminary questioning,” the higher court ruled.

Furthermore, the Court of Cassation said that there was no “indication or proof that the defendant suffered from any mental problems and there is no need to send him to the NIPM for evaluation”.

The Court of Cassation bench comprised judges Mohammad Ibrahim, Majid Azab, Yassin Abdullat, Hammad Ghzawi and Saeed Mugheid.

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