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MP Saud released for 'lack of evidence' in incitement to murder case
By Khaled Neimat - Oct 29,2013 - Last updated at Oct 29,2013
AMMAN — Criminal Court Attorney General Thaer Odwan on Tuesday halted procedures to try Deputy Yihya Saud and ordered his release, suspending a decision to detain him for 14 days on charges of incitement to murder.
Odwan said there was not enough evidence implicating Saud (Amman, 2nd District) to detain him on these charges.
The attorney general also decided not to prosecute Saud on charges of slandering official entities such as the Cabinet and Parliament, basing his decision on Article 153 of the Lower House’s Rules of Procedure, which is supported by Article 83 of the Constitution.
The said Constitution article prohibits the prosecution of MPs over felonies committed under the Dome unless a request to do so is put forward by the Lower House speaker.
The attorney general said the speaker did not press charges.
On Monday, the Criminal Court’s prosecutor general, Afif Khawaldeh, decided to detain Saud for 14 days after investigation showed that the MP practised incitement to murder in the shooting that took place under the Dome of Parliament last month.
In September, Deputy Talal Sharif (Amman, 1st District) fired at least two bullets from his AK47 at his colleague MP Qusai Dmeisi (Zarqa, 4th District) during an argument as the Lower House was about to start a session.
The bullets did not hit Dmeisi, but the Lower House decided to dismiss Sharif, which effectively lifted his immunity, to allow judicial authorities to investigate the case.
He is still in custody, and has been charged with attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and resisting security forces.
“Prosecutors found evidence that Saud incited Sharif to shoot at Dmeisi,” a judicial source was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying.
During Lower House discussions over amendments to the 2013 State Budget Law in the last extraordinary session of Parliament in early September, Dmeisi and Saud engaged in a scuffle after the former tried to prevent the latter from launching accusations at the prime minister.
The shooting took place a few days later.
A few hours after Saud’s detention, Lower House Speaker Saad Hayel Srour issued a statement calling for halting the measures taken by the prosecutor based on Article 151 of the House’s Rules of Procedure.
In a statement issued on Monday, Srour said the Lower House did not lodge any official complaints against the Amman MP, noting that the House is the only entity with the authority to take punitive measures against one of its members if he/she offends another colleague or violates the rules under the Dome.
The speaker cited Article 87 of the Constitution, which grants MPs the right to speak freely in Parliament within the boundaries set by the House’s Rules of Procedure.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour was also quoted by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, as saying that he did not press charges against Saud and has no plans to lodge any complaints against the MP.
The statement was taken from an official letter that the premier sent to Justice Minister Bassam Talhouni in relation to the criminal prosecutor’s letter detailing the decision to detain Saud.
Late Monday, hundreds of the MP’s supporters from the Hai Tafaileh area in Amman held a sit-in in downtown Amman to protest against his detention.
Saud sent them a letter urging them to maintain a peaceful approach in their protest.
Criminal Court Prosecutor Afif Khawaldeh on Monday decided to detain Deputy Yihya Saud for 14 days on charges of incitement to murder, and offending Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and another MP.
MPs plan to unfreeze their colleague Qusai Dmeisi’s membership in the Lower House and end his one-year suspension ahead of time, a parliamentary source said on Sunday.
The Lower House’s Legal Committee on Wednesday received a notification from the judiciary to withdraw its request to lift the parliamentary immunity of three out of six MPs as the lawsuits against them have been dropped.
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