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House refers general pardon bill to legal committee with ‘urgency status’

By JT - Jan 02,2019 - Last updated at Jan 02,2019

AMMAN — The Lower House on Wednesday referred the general pardon draft law to its Legal Committee, granting it an “urgency status”, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

A general pardon law has been demanded by the public for months, with the issue coming to a head when His Majesty King Abdullah issued directives ordering the government to draft the bill and have it enacted through constitutional channels.

Last week, the government prepared the legislation, excluding serious crimes.

Up to 5,000 criminal acts would benefit from the general pardon draft law, Minister of Justice Bassam Talhouni revealed earlier this week. 

Talhouni said in a press statement carried by Petra that the number of criminal acts excluded from the draft law was 187, pointing out that the number of beneficiaries from the pardon may reach some 8,000 people.

The exceptions to the bill include serious crimes that have to do with the safety of society, including state security-related ones, in addition to espionage, economic crimes, graft, terrorism and violations to the duties of public office. 

They also include crimes related to narcotics, arson, murder, theft, counterfeiting, fines imposed as a result of tax and customs evasion and traffic violations that constitute a direct threat to people’s lives. 

Last Thursday, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh said that the House was looking to push for expanding the terms of the general pardon, calling on the government to include fines, university students’ debts and indebted women in the general pardon, in accordance with King Abdullah’s directives to alleviate pressure on citizens.

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