Sunday, June 28, 2020

28-Jun-20: What does the US government say about Jordan's refusal to extradite Ahlam Tamimi?

[This image, minus the caption, is copied from the murderer's personal and still-current Instagram account]

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's entire case for not extraditing Ahlam Tamimi who confessed openly and loudly to bombing the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria in 2001 is that it's unconstitutional under Jordanian law.

As we have said in public and in this blog many times, no expert we have consulted - and they are many - thinks there's any merit at all in the argument. A good starting point for a serious analysis is "Pressure on Jordan: Refusal to extradite mastermind of deadly 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing in Jerusalem contravenes international law and agreements" [National Security Law Brief, October 2017].

But it's a convenient and face-saving way for its insiders to evade having to do something - hand the killer over to US law enforcement as the 1995 Jordan/US treaty requires - that will be unpopular. Jordan's deep devotion to pervasive and mainstream antisemitism distinguishes it even by Middle East standards. (The kingdom's Jewish population is zero.)

But leaving the rhetoric and sloganeering aside, what does the United States officially think about Jordan's shameful evasion of its fundamental responsibility to its most strategic ally, the United States?

In 2019, Jordan did not extradite Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, a Jordanian national in her mid-30s, who has been charged in the United States with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the United States resulting in death. The charge is related to her participation in the August 9, 2001, suicide bomb attack at a pizzeria in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals. Four other U.S. nationals were among the approximately 122 others injured in the attack. Following publication of the 2018 Country Reports on Terrorism, Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi confirmed that U.S. authorities asked Jordan to extradite Tamimi, and he expressed the view that Jordan’s constitution does not allow the extradition of a Jordanian citizen to a third country. The United States regards the extradition treaty with Jordan as valid and in force.
That entire last paragraph (minus the yellow which we added so that you won't miss those key words) is copied verbatim from the US State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism, the 2019  edition of which was released just a few days ago, on June 24, 2020.

Even more than in previous editions, this year's is strikingly clear on the question of the treaty's validity and therefore of Jordan's breach. You can see for yourself on page 126 of the 304 page tome which is downloadable as a PDF from here.

None of this fazes the Jordanians. 

They keep Tamimi, often described as a sociopath and certainly a lightning rod for profound and ultra-violent bigotry, safe from the clutches of the FBI and the Department of Justice. And far from a Washington courthouse where prosecutors are waiting for her arrival. Because... well, it's what Jordan's citizenry overwhelmingly want. 

One of the reasons Jordanians at all levels of their society get away with this is that no one in a position of power has told them in a clear-enough manner how disgusting their strategy is. And that it has to end immediately as a matter of fundamental decency. And in order to avoid further self-shaming by all the Jordanians involved. 

Some of the American politicians, including Congressional Representatives and Senators who could have spoken out - but so far have not - are featured in our previous blog-post: "26-Jun-20: Private meetings with His Majesty and the injustice they conceal".

Don't be a politician. Do the decent thing. Sign our petition addressing the US government and asking for the appropriate message to be conveyed to those who safeguard the incredible life our child's murderer lives in Jordan's capital city.

The petition is here.

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