Tuesday, March 21, 2017

21-Mar-17: Tamimi extradition: When it's claimed that something is illegal in Jordan...

Aljazeera's Arabic-language news did a poll on March 18, 2017.
Its viewers voted Ahlam Tamimi the biggest story of the week
[Image Source: Aljazeera video grab]
The Jerusalem Post has a report today ["Jordan turns down US extradition request for Sbarro terrorist", March 21, 2017] written by Ben Lynfield on efforts to bring our daughter's murderer to justice. It includes a portion of an interview they did last night with Arnold Roth. 

The ruling means that Tamimi will be able to continue her career as a television host admired for striking a devastating blow against the Israeli enemy rather than face trial and possible death penalty in the US. Tamimi caused the deaths of 15 civilians, including eight children and one pregnant woman and the wounding of 130 people. Two of the dead were US citizens...
Arnold Roth, whose 15-year-old daughter Malki was killed in the attack, told The Jerusalem Post in response to the Jordanian decision that “four years have passed since the sealed complaint was filed with a judge in Washington. It seems reasonable that the Jordanians have known for some time that the US had an interest in bringing Tamimi before a US judge and that there were ups and downs in those discussions. Jordan is not a democracy, it is a monarchy where governments are created by the king at will.
“When the rest of the world is told something is illegal in Jordan a discerning observer would understand that the people who run Jordan have decided that such and such is now illegal. What’s beyond doubt is that in 1995 Jordan signed an extradition treaty with the US and nothing changed between 1995 and 2017. They certainly don’t have a new constitution,” he said.
“It’s worth pointing out that Tamimi’s first stop when she arrived in Jordan in October 2011 was to a courthouse, the Family Court of Jordan in Amman, where there was a celebration – a public reception to celebrate her freedom and return home.”
King Abdullah II rules as monarch of the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan
We wrote about that extraordinary 2011 Jordanian gala reception two days ago [here]. Of the various challenges facing Tamimi, Jordan's court don't appear to be at the top of the list.

They also appear not to be a major concern of the kingdom's authoritative English-language news site, Jordan Times, which (as far as we can tell and we check daily) has not mentioned her or the extradition process even once since they became an issue a week ago. This is in sharp contrast to the general Arab public which voted strongly in an Aljazeera poll a week ago to declare Tamimi as the news person of the week (see photo at the top of this post).

One more aspect of the Jordanian court's ruling: given the extreme gravity of the charges against Tamimi, and the fact that she confessed in court when first tried and then over and again on television since then, might the Jordanian judges have considered placating the Americans by suggesting she stand trial for the same charges in Jordan? Whatever the merits, the fact is they didn't.

Readers wanting a better understanding of the Jordanian political system and its precious constitution ought to see "Jordan’s 2016 constitutional amendments: A return to absolute monarchy?" on the ConstitutionNet website. Also: "Jordan changes constitution to give King more power" (Aljazeera, April 26, 2016). Lots of choice quotes there that curious reporters and their editors could (but so far don't) use in giving context to Jordan's evasion of its 1995 extradition treaty obligations to the United States.

UPDATE March 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm: Over on Elder of Ziyon's outstanding site, there's a new Daled Amos post today ["Jordan Extradited A Terrorist, A Jordanian National, to the US, For the 1995 World Trade Center Bombing - So Why Not Now?"] that bears on these issues. It starts with this:
The story the Jordanians are telling us is that terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, who masterminded the Sbarro massacre, cannot be extradited to the US, because there is no treaty. The Jordanian High Court recognizes that an extradition treaty was signed with the US in 1995, but that it is null... The problem is that this is not true. The extradition treaty between the US and Jordan may or may not have been approved by the Parliament, but it was signed by King Hussein. More importantly, in 1995 Jordan did recognize the treaty. The New York Times recounts that the same treaty the Jordanian court is now saying is null, was in fact used to allow...
Click to read what it allowed. How likely is it that those learned Jordanian judges in Amman considered what Daled Amos has noticed?

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