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Widen or restrict amnesty coverage

Jan 17,2019 - Last updated at Jan 17,2019

We beg to differ very strongly with Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament Atef Tarawneh when he proposed the coverage of all traffic violations by the projected amnesty law, irrespective of their severity.

What is even worse is Tarawneh's suggestion that criminal court sentences for murder cases be reduced by the amnesty legislation if the family of the victim drops their personal rights.

The speaker of the House is expected to set a high standard for justice and he knows, or should know, that some of the traffic violations are so severe and reckless that they lead to death and mayhem on the streets of the country. Some drivers are so reckless with their lives and the lives of others that they drive their vehicles while intoxicated or cross red lights. One can site many other grievous violations that are committed in conditions that are or bordering on criminal negligence. Such violators of the traffic code must not be absolved of responsibility under any condition. Otherwise, amnesty laws would become a licence to commit "murder".

With regards to the reduction of criminal courts' sentences in murder cases, the issue of dropping the personal rights of the relatives of victims has been debated long and hard, with a clear consensus emerging that in murder cases, there are two dimensions: One is the public dimension, which calls for punishing murderers and sentencing them in accordance with the severity of the crime. Then there is the personal dimension, which entails the rights of the families of victims of murder to seek compensation and redress.

It would be unconscionable to even suggest the reduction of sentences on hardened criminals simply because the families of the victims drop charges against felons.

Jordan is among the very few countries remaining on the surface of the Earth that allows for personal intervention in sentences regarding murder cases. That is not what Jordan is all about. The speaker of the Lower House is called upon to put public interest in justice ahead of all other considerations, no matter how well-intentioned they maybe.

Amnesty laws are not intended to absolve criminal responsibility in any case, much less in murder cases.

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