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84-year-old lawyer released on bail

By Dana Al Emam - Mar 03,2015 - Last updated at Mar 03,2015

AMMAN — An 84-year-old lawyer who had been detained for allegedly hitting a traffic policewoman was released on bail Tuesday, according to Jordan Bar Association (JBA) President Samir Khirfan.

Ezzat Ghaith, who suffers from several diseases including cancer, was detained last Thursday and kept in custody for almost a week, a matter that “upsets” lawyers, Khirfan said.

Criticising the “unnatural procedures” against Ghaith, he noted that “hundreds of misunderstandings and verbal arguments take place every day with policemen and policewomen.”

“We do not accept or allow assaults against police officers… media outlets have portrayed the incident as an assault against the policewoman, which Ghaith’s statement refutes,” he said.

In his statement, Ghaith said he protested against a parking ticket issued to him by the policewoman and she verbally assaulted him. He then threatened to file a complaint against her and pulled the ticket book from her, which caused her to fall down, according to her statement.

“Despite the difference in the two statements, the issue should not have been blown out of proportion,” Khirfan told The Jordan Times, adding that the prosecutor general’s office did not notify the association or Ghaith’s family of his detention at the time of the incident.

It was not until Friday that JBA found out and sent medical reports that illustrate Ghaith’s situation. 

Khirfan said the association requested to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah to complain about assaults on lawyers, a matter that harms the country’s reputation.

“The JBA has repeatedly complained about the issue to security bodies and the Interior Ministry, but in vain,” he said, noting that international human rights organisations would consider it a disgrace if anything bad happened to Ghaith during his detention.

JBA members staged sit-ins from 10am to 11am on Monday at justice palaces across the country in protest against the “arbitrary” detention of their colleague.

Ashraf Zu’bi, a JBA member, said the association went through the regular legal channels to secure his release on bail, without contacting the government or the US embassy in Amman, as Ghaith carries American citizenship.

He added that the charges against Ghaith included resisting and assaulting a police officer.

“The charges are false as policemen who witnessed the incident said Ghaith did not assault the policewoman,” Zu’bi said, adding that cameras at the location of the incident can prove this.

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