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Life sentence for Royal Rangers officer murderer

First Lt. was killed during undercover operation to retrieve crocodile owned illegaly by defendant

By Rana Husseini - Jul 29,2018 - Last updated at Jul 30,2018

AMMAN — The Court of Cassation has upheld a March Criminal Court ruling sentencing a 28-year-old man to life in prison after convicting him of murdering a Royal Rangers Department (RRD) officer who was investigating the illegal possession of a crocodile at a shop in Amman in February 2017.

The Criminal Court declared the defendant guilty of shooting First Lt. Ibrahim Tihi Amre at a shop near the First Circle in Jabal Amman on February 18, and handed him the maximum punishment.

The court decided to acquit the defendant’s father, 63, who was standing trial on charges of complicity in murdering a government employee, for lack of evidence, "since he only happened to be with his son at the time of the shooting incident”.

Court documents said the defendant posted an advertisement on social media in mid-February claiming that “he wanted to sell a rare crocodile he had owned for the past three years”.

The RRD picked up on the advertisement and contacted the defendant to “inform him that they were willing to pay JD500". The department then tasked six RRD officers, including the victim, to pose as buyers.

“The defendant agreed to meet with the RRD officers at a shop in Jabal Amman,” court documents said, adding that when the agents entered the shop in plain clothes, “Amer approached the defendant and informed him that they were undercover RRD officers”.

“Amer reached for the crocodile that was placed in a bag but the defendant refused and instead drew a gun and pointed it at the victim while waving the weapon at other officers, warning them not to approach him,” court documents stated.

The officers attempted to arrest the defendant, so “he fired one single bullet, which penetrated Amer’s chest". The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead on arrival, the court stated, adding that the remaining agents in the shop arrested Amer and seized the crocodile, estimated to be around 60cm long, as well as the weapon found at the shop.

The victim is survived by his wife and two children.

The defendant had contested the Criminal Court’s ruling, charging that “he never intended to kill the victim and did not know that he was a law-enforcement officer”.

“The bullet that killed the victim was discharged by accident and my client was intending to escape from the shop, not to kill the victim,” the defendant’s lawyer said in his defence arguments.

However, the higher court ruled that the Criminal Court followed the proper procedures when sentencing the defendant, who deserved the verdict he received. 

The Court of Cassation judges were Mohammad Ibrahim, Naji Zubi, Yassin Abdullat, Hamad Ghzawi and Majid Azab.

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