Council of Europe condemns Jordan hangings

One of the 15 executed men was hanged for shooting dead a British tourist in Amman's Roman amphitheatre in 2006. [Mr Littlehand/ Flickr]

Jordan’s execution of 15 prisoners has provoked “indignation” from Council of Europe leader Pedro Agramunt, who insisted the Arab kingdom remains committed to maintaining a moratorium on the death penalty. EURACTIV Spain reports.

Agramunt, who is president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), “strongly” condemned Saturday’s (4 March) executions in Jordan, whose parliament obtained “Partner for Democracy” status within PACE in January 2016.

Under that charter, Jordan is committed to “continuing its efforts to drive public bodies and civil society towards the abolition of capital punishment and to apply a moratorium on executions set up in 2016”, the Spanish People’s Party (PP) member said.

Agramunt warned that going back to capital punishment is “simply unjustifiable” and called on the Jordanian authorities to stop executing prisoners and to abolish the punishment from criminal law.

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Human rights group Amnesty International also condemned Jordan’s carrying out of the executions in “secrecy and without transparency”.

The 15 executed prisoners were held in Suaga prison in the capital of Amman, having been found guilty on charges of terrorism and other crimes.

Among their number was Mahmud Masharqah who was found guilty of participating in the murder of five agents of the Jordanian intelligence services in June, during an attack on their office in the Al Baqaa refugee camp north of the capital.

Riad Abdulah was also hanged after having murdered Nahed Hattar, an author who had defended the publishing of a cartoon that has been labelled as blasphemous.

Five other men were executed for their part in a shootout with security forces last year in which a police officer was killed.

Another man was hanged for killing a British tourist in 2006 and another for his part in an attack on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad back in 2003.

The five remaining condemned men were sentenced to death for rape and murder.

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This is the first collective execution carried out in Jordan since 2014, when eleven people were executed on the same day.

The Arab kingdom had previously implemented a moratorium on capital punishment between 2006 and 2014 but hanging was brought back in 2014.