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Abdoun bank robber sentenced to 15 years, 3 others acquitted

By Rana Husseini - Mar 08,2018 - Last updated at Mar 08,2018

AMMAN — The State Security Court (SSC) on Wednesday sentenced a 23-year-old man to 15 years in prison after convicting him of robbing a bank in Amman last month.

The court declared the defendant guilty of theft and conducting activities that would endanger the safety of society, disturbing public order, spreading fear among citizens and jeopardising economic resources and handed him the maximum punishment.

Three other defendants, including a brother and a sister of the defendant, were acquitted in the same case for lack of evidence.

Presiding Judge Col. Mohammad Afif said the court decided to hand the defendant the maximum punishment “because of the perilous nature of his crime and its potential harm to the economy”.

“What the defendant did was a dangerous act that caused fear among the public and the bank employees and endangered their lives, so we strongly believe that he deserves the maximum punishment in this case,” Afif told The Jordan Times.

The court also declared all four defendants not guilty of charges of forming a “gang” with the intention of stealing money, armed robbery and complicity in robbery for lack of evidence.

The four defendants were standing trial before the SSC on charges related to the armed robbery of Itihad Bank’s branch in Abdoun on January 22.

The main defendant in the case had confessed in a previous court session to being the sole robber in the incident when he netted JD95,633 in cash before he was caught and the stolen money retrieved.

“This is a harsh sentence since my client confessed, the money was retrieved and the criminal lab ruled that the gun used in the robbery was a malfunctioning weapon with blanks,” said the defendant’s lawyer, Nassim Rousan.

He told The Jordan Times that he would appeal the verdict at the Court of Cassation because he is certain that “his client’s ruling will be reduced”.

“I am certain that the Court of Cassation would have mercy on my client because he is young, used blanks and no one was injured in the incident,” Rousan insisted.

Rousan, however, praised the SSC’s decision to acquit the three defendants saying it was a correct and just verdict. 

The court said the defendant plotted to rob the bank and asked his friend, the second defendant, to give him a ride to the area where the bank was located.

“The defendant asked his friend to park far way and walked to the bank, waved a gun with empty bullets at bank employees and robbed the branch then left and headed back to his friend who was waiting for him,” the court said.

The duo drove home to Amman’s Dahiet Al Yasmeen, where the second defendant dropped off the main suspect and left.

The main suspect then asked his brother to give him a ride to his sister’s house where he asked her to hide the cash for him.

“All three defendants who were acquitted today had no idea that the cash was stolen or had knowledge of the defendant’s intentions so we decided to declare them innocent,” Judge Afif explained.

The main suspect was arrested after the Criminal Investigation Department received a tip-off about his identity, police sources have said.

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