Jordanians call for death penalty for torture attack suspects

Ministers from Jordan's new government, appointed last week, have waded into the furore over the violent attack on a 16-year-old

Jordan's newly-appointed Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh takes oath during a swearing-in ceremony of the new government in Amman, Jordan October 12, 2020. Jordanian Royal Palace/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Jordan's Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawneh promised that firm action would be taken against a group of men who allegedly kidnapped and tortured a teenage boy this week.

Some are calling for the men to face the death penalty if convicted of the crime.

Mr Al Khasawneh visited Saleh, 16, in hospital on Wednesday. The boy had his hands chopped off and an eye gouged out in the attack.

The prime minister said the crime had "shaken the conscience of the entire Jordanian society", and promised that the attackers would be dealt with.

On Wednesday, King Abdullah II ordered that the boy be given all the medical treatment he needed.

Jordan's Minister of Media Affairs, Ali Al Ayad, said the procedures for dealing with the perpetrators were discussed by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

The attack, in which the boy was beaten and abducted on a bus, is thought to have been in retaliation for the murder of a relative of the lead suspect earlier this year.

The murder was a crime for which Saleh’s father is currently serving a prison sentence.

A video published on social media showed Saleh sitting with bloodied arm stumps and blood dripping from his eyes.

Six people were arrested and charged on Wednesday in relation to the crime, but Saleh has said 12 people were involved.

The person who filmed and published the footage was sentenced to one week in prison for breaking Jordan's cyber-crime laws. It is not clear whether this person is among the six arrested for the horrific attack.

Well-known Jordanian comedian and actor Ahmad Srour said the way the attackers acted, seemingly without fear, was incredibly frightening.

"The death penalty is the right thing to do because they kidnapped the boy, they tortured him, they cut his hands off, they gouged out his eye and then they left him," he told The National.

“This has terrified the whole of society, not only the victim and his family. This kind of criminal activity must stop in Jordan.”

Another Jordanian man said jail was not a severe enough punishment for the crime although did not support capital punishment.

“I spent time in prison around eight years ago. I met people like these men so I don’t believe violence like this is unique in Jordan but this is an extreme case,” he said.

“I also think the filming of the boy following the attack is a big factor behind the public outcry for the authorities to take firm action against these men.”

He believed government agencies must work to develop the education system and its infrastructure to prevent this kind of behaviour.

“There must be reform in all systems in Jordan to get rid of this excess violence. Wherever there is poverty, there will be ignorance, and wherever there is ignorance, crime is present.”

On Thursday morning a video was being circulated on social media showed Saleh reciting verses from the Quran from his hospital bed.

A relative told local media the teenager was undergoing further surgery at King Hussein Medical City in Amman.

The Public Security Directorate said investigations are still ongoing, but that the case would be referred to the Public Prosecutor of the State Security Court.

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