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Loopholes in Penal Code to be addressed — Majali

By Rana Husseini - Nov 09,2014 - Last updated at Nov 09,2014

AMMAN — Interior Minister Hussein Majali on Sunday said a specialised committee was formed at the Ministry of Justice to examine the Penal Code and address loopholes in the legislation. 

“We realise that we have some loopholes in our Penal Code that some people make use of to evade punishment; therefore we formed a legal committee at the Justice Ministry to address this matter,” Majali said at a press conference held at the Prime Ministry on Sunday.

The minister’s comments were in response to a reporter’s query about a case involving a woman who reportedly killed three of her five children late last month.

The woman, in her early forties, reportedly used her veil to strangle her 12-year-old son, and 11- and nine-year-old daughters at their house in the capital’s Tabarbour neighbourhood.

Two other daughters, aged 16 and 14, survived the incident and called police from a neighbour’s house. 

The suspect attempted to take her own life but police prevented her and took her into custody. 

Last week, the Criminal Court prosecutor referred her to the National Institute of Psychiatric Medicine for a psychiatric evaluation.

Her two surviving daughters are to remain at the Family Reconciliation Centre, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Social Development, until the case at the Criminal Court is over.

A team from the ministry, which examined the case, said the elder daughter claimed she was sexually molested by her father for around four years, since she was in fifth grade. 

The Jordanian community was outraged to learn that the father had been referred to the criminal court prosecutor on molestation charges against his daughter, but he was released on bail and allegedly returned home to repeat his sexual advances on his daughter.

The mother filed another complaint and the administrative governor issued orders for the father to be detained as a precautionary measure.

Majali explained that “the criminal court prosecutor released the father on bail because the charge against the father allows it.”

That is why, the minister noted, “we decided to revisit the Penal Code to address these loopholes and stiffen penalties for certain offences.”

In July this year, Justice Minister Bassam Talhouni said the legal committee reviewing the Penal Code will increase penalties in sexual harassment cases, adding that amendments will include publishing the photos of those proven guilty of sexual harassment in dailies as a legal deterrent.

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