by Yesim Usluca
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

AMMAN, Jordan — On Saturday, March 4th, Jordanian officials carried out a mass execution of fifteen people within the Suwaqa prison near the country’s capital of Amman. The killings were attended by senior ranking government officials, including Amman’s prosecutor general and the prosecutor general of the high criminal court.

Amnesty International condemned the executions, which were allegedly carried out in “secrecy and without transparency.” (Photo courtesy of Whatson)

Ten of the executed individuals had been convicted of terrorist attacks dating from 2003 through 2016, whereas the remaining five had been convicted in murder charges. One had carried out an attack on an intelligence compound near a Palestinian camp. The attack, which took place last year, had resulted in the deaths of five security personnel. Five of those executed had been implicated in an assault by suspected ISIS fighters on a militant hideout. The attack, which had also been carried out last year, had led to the deaths of seven terrorists and one police officer.

The executions have drawn international attention from human rights organizations. Amnesty International condemned the mass killings due to the manner in which they were carried out. The rights group indicated that the fifteen individuals had been hanged in secret and “without transparency.” Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Beirut Regional Office, Mr. Samah Hadid, called the scale of the executions “shocking[,]” while adding that it is a “big step backwards on human rights protection in Jordan[.]” Mr. Hadid further noted that capital punishment in the country was “problematic” as confessions in some cases had been obtained through torture or other coercive measures. Meanwhile, the government of Jordan denied any mistreatment of its prisoners, and asserted that the judicial system abides by human rights laws.

The Middle East Director of Human Rights Watch, Ms. Sarah Leah Whitson, indicated that the death penalty would not act as a deterrence to violence. She stated that militant attacks have increased in recent years despite the imposition of death penalties to at least one hundred prisoners who had been convicted on charges relating to radical Islamist groups. Ms. Whitson further noted that capital punishment “will never . . . make the citizens of Jordan safer,” despite the country’s efforts to project an “image of strength[.]”

A senior Jordanian judicial authority stated that Saturday’s executions were the largest carried out in the country’s recent history. Jordan’s government spokesperson, Mr. Mohammad Momani, indicated that the killings were carried out in an “attempt to bring justice to the victims of those terrorists who threatened our national security.” Mr. Momani further added that any individual engaging in similar behavior “will face the same destiny.”

For more information, please see:

Human Rights Watch—Jordan: Executions Won’t End Terror Attacks, Murder—5 March 2017

Reuters—Jordan says executes 15, with 10 for terrorism convictions—4 March 2017

Middle East Eye—Jordan hangs 15 for rape and terrorism in mass dawn execution—4 March 2017

The Jordan Times—15 convicted criminals, terrorists executed on Saturday—4 March 2017

Jurist—Human rights groups condemn execution of 15 in Jordan—5 March 2017


Author: Yesim Usluca