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Nine referred to prosecutor over highway robbery during fuel protests

By Rana Husseini - Nov 21,2012 - Last updated at Nov 21,2012

AMMAN — Police on Wednesday referred nine people to the State Security Court (SSC) prosecution for allegedly obstructing motorists and robbing them of their belongings on the Amman-Naour highway last week.

The nine suspects are part of a group of 18 men who reportedly obstructed motorists heading to or returning from the Dead Sea on the Naour road between November 14 and November 18, Public Security Department (PSD) Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib said.

“We managed to arrest nine men while nine remain at large; but once we arrest them, we will refer them to the SSC prosecution,” Khatib told The Jordan Times.

The PSD official said the suspects face several charges including forming an “evil gang”, robbery, resisting arrest, arson, causing public unrest and vandalising private and public property.

Khatib added that the group “took advantage of the acts of rioting that occurred in the Kingdom and attacked motorists with rocks or placed burning tyres or garbage on the street to force them to stop”.

He was referring to riots that broke out last week after the government announced a decision to remove fuel subsidies, a move which triggered anger and Kingdom-wide protests that saw vandalism and criminal acts.

Once motorists stopped, he added, the group would approach him/her and threaten him/her with guns and rifles to step out from the vehicle.

“The group would then rob the passengers’ valuable belongings but leave them unharmed,” Khatib noted.

He said police received 19 complaints, including five from women, during the four-day period when the country witnessed a wave of protests and riots over a government decision to lift fuel subsidies last Tuesday.

However, Khatib added that the group that was referred to the SSC on Wednesday is not connected to other acts of riots that took place in the Kingdom. “These people just took advantage of the events to gain some quick money,” he said.

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