JORDAN: 11 EXECUTED AFTER 8-YEAR DEATH PENALTY MORATORIUM
December 21, 2014: Eight years after Jordan suspended its death penalty, eleven death-row inmates convicted in different murder cases were executed by hanging, the Interior Ministry announced.
The men were executed at dawn in the Swaqa corrections and rehabilitation center, a prison some 70 kilometres from Amman, the capital, Interior Ministry spokesman Ziyad Zoobi was quoted as saying by the official Petra news agency.
Authorities said the men were all Jordanians convicted on murder charges in 2005 and 2006. A source in the prison system said the men were mostly in their 40s. "Some of the prisoners asked to have their final words passed on their families, others asked only to smoke a cigarette," the source said.
Earlier 2014, several Jordanian lawmakers called for unfreezing the implementation of capital punishment ‚Äď suspended by King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2006 ‚Äď in order to curb the recent rise in crime rates.
On 8 November 2014, Interior Minister Hussein Majali said the Cabinet had formed a committee to examine whether or not to reinstate executions in Jordan. He suggested that the death penalty freeze might end, saying there was a ‚Äúmajor debate‚ÄĚ in Jordan on the death penalty and that ‚Äúthe public believes that the rise in crime has been the result of the non-application‚ÄĚ of capital punishment.
Before these executions, the Jordanian monarch has not signed off on any death penalty since 2006, which is a legal prerequisite for carrying out the sentence. Jordan‚Äôs last execution was carried out in March 2006, when a 41-year-old blacksmith convicted of killing his wife and seven-month-old child was hanged at Swaqa prison. Since then, 122 people have been sentenced to death and remain in prison for various offences, including murder, rape of minors and spying, but their sentences have not been carried out.
On 18 December 2014, Jordan abstained from the Resolution on a Moratorium on the use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly. (Sources: AFP, 21/12/2014; HOC, 22/12/2014; nytimes.com, 22/12/2014; jordantimes.com, 09/11/2014)