JORDAN. GOV'T INTRODUCES BILL TO CURB CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
August 1, 2006: Human rights activists praised the government's approval of a draft law that would eradicate the death penalty for certain crimes but stressed capital punishment should be abolished completely.
"This is a good step but not enough. There are many crimes punishable by death that need to be scrapped from the Jordanian law books," Director of the Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies Nizam Assaf said, adding that there are around 16 crimes subject to the death penalty.
On August 1, the Cabinet approved recommendations by a legal committee, headed by the minister of justice, to substitute life in prison for the death penalty in certain instances.
The list of crimes includes possessing, manufacturing, selling and transporting illegal explosives and weapons with illicit intent, preventing authorities by use of force from performing their duties, and certain cases related to illegal drugs, according to Government Spokesperson Nasser Judeh.
"This step was an indication the government is serious about abolishing the death penalty in compliance with human rights conventions," Judeh told The Jordan Times on August 1.
His Majesty King Abdullah told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Nov. 16, 2005, that "in coordination with the European Union, we would like to modify our penal code. Jordan could soon become the first country in the Middle East without capital punishment."
The draft law will now be referred to Parliament once it is examined by the Prime Ministry's Legal Bureau. (Sources: Jordan Times, 03/08/2006)