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Referring tobacco case to SSC right move — gov’t

By JT - Jul 24,2018 - Last updated at Jul 24,2018

AMMAN — The government on Tuesday stressed that it would adhere to its decision to refer a cigarette forging case to the State Security Court (SSC). 

The statement was made after the decision, taken by Prime Minister Omar Razzaz the night before, was criticised as jeopardising efforts to bring fugitives to justice from abroad.

The case was initially referred to the prosecution office at the Jordan Customs Department (JCD), where the prosecutor general, according to a government statement, found that some of the crimes involved fall under the jurisdiction of SSC, and in the final opinion decided that the JCD court lacks jurisdiction, especially since the details of tobacco case are “interlaced”, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

MP Saleh Armouti, a former Bar Association president, disagreed with Razzaz’ decision to refer the case to the SSC rather than a regular court, arguing that Interpol does not recognise the SSC, which is a special military-civilian mixed court. However, he was quoted in local media as saying that since Jordan and Lebanon have an extradition agreement, authorities can bring back the primary suspect in the case who has reportedly fled to Lebanon. 

Razzaz had earlier formed a ministerial committee he chaired to follow up on the case and examine all details, so as to speed up the process and wrap up the case.

On Monday, Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat announced that arrest warrants had been issued for 30 suspects who are allegedly involved in the case of illegally producing and smuggling tobacco and forging international brands.

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