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When the law becomes a tool for bullying


[3/7/2012 12:00:00 AM]

By Amer Al Sabaileh

It’s not surprising if there is no appetite to discuss Jordanian politics. The only food for thought is that this government is breaking the record of being the worst in Jordanian history. If there is any doubt in people’s minds as to this state of affairs, I would be only too pleased to clarify.

What are the achievements of the current government?

Fighting corruption? Honestly speaking, we don’t see the rhetoric in any way mirrored in what is actually happening. We are witnessing what I define as “Bullies of law” where point scoring is the name of the game in an imaginary battle in which falsity and corruption are rife. For example, what is all this about - denial of detainees’ rights such as the numerous rejection of bail petitions? It seems rather senseless propaganda to me, which shows little understanding of what Jordan really needs.

Jordanians who believe in the true cause of fighting corruption are all too eager to restore the missing state of law. We are not convinced by such retarded practices which rely on hijacking the law to provide scapegoats or to settle personal issues under the banner of fighting corruption. We want to see justice administered correctly, directed at the real perpetrators with the full authority of a fair and just legal system behind it.

The former Mayor of Amman, Omar Maani’s case is all about dereliction in the course of official duties – ie, administrative errors. After 6 rejected bail petitions he is now out of prison. Former Intelligence Chief Gen. Dahabi’s case is more complex as it deals with money laundering, exploiting an official role which, if provoked, would be a heinous crime. However, there are 2 puzzling questions: Firstly, why has this case come up now and not in 2007 when it happened and why has he been rejected bail for the seventh time, despite the fact that he has had all the time to cover his tracks since then? Secondly, why is he the only one involved in the case? Surely for this kind of financial scandal the Jordan central bank and current minister of finance who was president of the bank at the time should also be investigated in the same way and stand trial?

Furthermore, many wonder today about the value of re-opening the Casino case after such lengthy investigations were carried out by Parliament last year. People are beginning to question if this is not in some way connected to the criticisms that ex-PM Bakhit has directed at the government and the Prime Minister recently.

The point is, that before detaining people there is need of evidence and until a fair trial is conducted the principle of innocence before proven guilty still stands. Bail petition is a legal right and raking up the embers of past misdeeds may be considered part and parcel of legal procedures, but should certainly not be exploited as a showcase trial to prove that steps are being taken to fight corruption. Especially when it is limited to a few key figures whilst absolving other possible perpetrators of the alleged crimes and playing down the new cases of corruption which are arising in the present day.

In the end we seem to have arrived at a level of decadence beyond all bounds if we listen to the words of the government spokesman. Taking for example the new BBC show Judgment Hour I was disgusted to see the mentality behind the whole proclaimed “process for fighting corruption”,

He said that the symbol of authoritarianism in the security sector is Jail (Dahabi, who strangely enough was accused of financial misdeeds in no way related to security issues). Soon he will also add the symbol of Economic corruption babyas the former chief of the Royal Court (referring to Bassem Awadalah). Does he realize that when saying such things he is actually the representative of the State? Do his words reflect the mentality that runs Jordan today? We should be concerned that the BBC is allowing such a professional misjudgment.

I am not condoning the actions of the accused. What I am saying is that we should be against bullying in law and order and should respect the rule of law and its inherent rights. If there are sufficient grounds to prove Bassem Awadalah guilty, he should have a fair and impartial trial. Until that moment, there is absolutely no justification for such public defamation and insults issued by a government spokesman. The same applies for other detainees like Dahabi or Maani.

We all know the real meaning of fighting corruption and the cases we want to see judged transparently. We don’t want to assassinate this whole era just because the people in the government today do not belong to King Abdullah’s era. Jordanians are much wiser today and aware of how things are being run. They are significantly asking the question “how can we trust a judge who repeatedly denies the minimum right of people to bail. Can we trust him afterwards in investigating or even judging”?

Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh

http://amersabaileh.blogspot.com



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