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Man handed five-year prison term for drug smuggling attempt

By Rana Husseini - Dec 10,2019 - Last updated at Dec 10,2019

AMMAN — The Court of Cassation has upheld a June State Security Court (SSC) ruling sentencing a man to five years in prison for transporting illegal narcotics in October 2018.

The court declared the defendant guilty of attempting to smuggle 6,000 Captagon pills through a border crossing point on October 7 and handed him seven years and six months in prison.

However, the SSC immediately reduced the sentence to five years in prison “because he is young and deserves a second chance in life”, according to court transcripts.

The SSC also ordered the defendant to pay JD5,000 in fines.

Court papers said that the defendant wanted to earn quick cash so “he decided to smuggle illegal narcotics pills to Saudi Arabia using his truck”.

While at the border crossing point, the court maintained, customs agents x-rayed his vehicle and “located the pills hidden in a secret compartment”.

Captagon (fenethylline) is a synthetic stimulant similar to amphetamine.

The pills are usually manufactured and transported from neighbouring countries in the north via Jordan to countries on the southern borders, Anti-narcotics Department  officials told The Jordan Times in previous interviews.

PSD officials have said that drug smugglers “target rich countries because one Captagon pill there is worth JD7, while its market value in Jordan is around JD1 per pill”.

The SSC prosecution office asked the higher court to uphold the verdict because it was in accordance with the law.

The defendant, through his lawyer, contested the SSC’s ruling, stating that the court “failed to depend on solid evidence” when convicting him and that “there was no proof that he intended to sell any pills”.

Nonetheless, the higher court maintained that the SSC had followed the proper procedures in the issuance of the sentences against the defendant.

The Court of Cassation judges presiding were Mohammad Ibrahim, Naji Zu’bi, Yassin Abdullat, Bassim Mubeidin and Hamad Ghzawi.

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