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House shooter MP dismissed, another suspended

By Khaled Neimat - Sep 10,2013 - Last updated at Sep 10,2013

AMMAN — The Lower House on Tuesday dismissed one of its members and suspended the membership of another for one year after the former shot at the latter at the Parliament.

The decision over the two lawmakers’ fate came following a long debate between MPs after Talal Sharif (Amman, 1st District) fired at least two bullets from his AK47 during an argument with MP Qusai Dmeisi (Zarqa, 4th District) while the House was in session.

In response to the incident, which took place in one of the Parliament’s halls, MPs voted to dismiss Sharif from the Lower House and suspend Dmeisi’s membership for one year and froze his financial benefits.

The Lower House met for an emergency meeting Tuesday evening following the unprecedented incident. The legislators also endorsed a recommendation by the Legal Committee to take similar severe measures against any future acts of violence by any deputy.

“MPs today proved that they are up to the responsibilities entrusted to them by the people. The endorsement of such measures is the way to punish those involved in the incident and prevent any similar occurrences in the future,” Lower House Speaker Saad Hayel Srour told reporters after the evening meeting.

The decisions were facilitated by a Royal Decree to include the incident on the agenda of the ongoing extraordinary session, as the Lower House cannot discuss any issues other than those listed in the Royal Decree that summoned the lawmakers to meet to discuss a closed list of draft laws, as stipulated by the Constitution, which requires the House to inform the government of the vacancy in 30 days, while a sub-election must be held to fill it in three months after the government and the Independent Elections Commission are notified.

It was the second Royal Decree made in less than a week, after one was issued earlier this week to include a draft law to amend the 2013 State Budget, in response to a government request.

Several deputies expressed their anger towards the incident with some blaming Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour for causing what they described as sharp differences between the deputies.

Deputy Abdul Rahim Biqaai (Amman, 3rd District) said Tuesday’s incident reflects the “uncivilised” behaviour that many deputies adopt under the Dome.

He urged Srour to take a firm stance on such inappropriate behaviour in the future, in order “to restore order and dignity to the Lower House”.

Deputy Bassam Btoush (Karak, 3rd District) said such actions entail an insult to other MPs, Parliament and the Jordanian people, calling on deputies to address such acts firmly.

Meanwhile, the prosecution began an investigation into the incident and Sharif was expected to be detained for 15 days over charges of attempted murder. He was still in custody Tuesday evening.

“I visited Sharif today after the shooting and he seemed in a bad condition and regretted what he had done,” Deputy Mohammad Barayseh (Amman, 1st District) told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

“I told him what he had done is unprecedented and after acting in such a way, no one would stand by him,” the deputy added.

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