JORDAN: LOWER HOUSE ADOPTS ANTI-TERRORISM BILL, KEEPS DEATH PENALTY
April 22, 2014: Lower House endorsed the draft anti-terrorism law, maintaining the death penalty for certain crimes tagged as terror acts.
In a rare case concerning such an important law, the lawmakers debated the bill and okayed it in one day, through morning and evening meetings.
This swift endorsement by the Lower House was due to the fact that Parliament will end its current ordinary session on May 3, with only two meetings left on the agenda, according to Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh.Â
Those who commit terrorist crimes that result in the death of innocent people, partial or total damage of facilities and buildings, and entail the use of explosives, poisons, chemical, biochemical or radioactive materials, face the death sentence, according to the draft bill.
But violations of a milder nature are punishable by five years to life imprisonment, the draft bill stipulates.
Meanwhile, a provision in the draft bill states that a person who joins or builds contacts with armed groups and militias, or attempts to recruit others to these illegal organisations, inside or outside the country, will be penalised.
The Lower House also agreed on a provision stipulating that financial activities in support of terrorist or extremist groups, inside or outside the country, will be labelled acts of terrorism that fall under the jurisdiction of this law.
Among the crimes listed under this terrorist bill are any acts that expose Jordan to aggression or harm its relations with foreign countries.
Using the Internet, establishing websites or publishing any materials with the intent of facilitating, supporting or encouraging terrorist activities also fall under the bill, as endorsed by the MPs.
In addition, dealing with, manufacturing, holding or storing explosives of any type for the purpose of using them in terrorist crimes is similarly subject to the punishments entailed in the draft bill.
Another article says that any attempt on the life of the King, the Queen or Crown Prince, or any act that entails armed insurgency against legitimate authorities is listed as a terrorist crime.
During the morning session, Minister of Interior Hussein Majali said the draft bill considers only hostile actions against legitimate authorities as terrorist crime, âbut not those against illegitimate authoritiesâ.
His remarks came in response to several MPsâ remarks on excluding actions of resistance against Israeli authorities from this bill.
âThe [Israeli] occupation is not a legitimate authority,â hence resisting it is not considered an act of terrorism, Majali explained.
MP Mohammed Saudi, head of the Lower House Financial Committee, said that certain provisions in this draft bill hold people accountable for their intentions only.
However, Minister of Justice Bassam Talhouni defended the draft bill saying it will help judges when they deal with crimes related to terrorism, noting it determines specific penalties for well-identified terrorist activities. (Sources: jordantimes.com, 24/04/2014)