Attorney general appeals ruling on reduction of prison term
Mar 13, 2008 | 00:00 Updated: Feb 14, 2012 | 11:41
By Rana Husseini
AMMAN – The Criminal Court attorney general on Wednesday said he appealed a court ruling reducing the prison term of a 70-year-old woman who was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for the murder of her daughter in the Jordan Valley in July 2006.
The Criminal Court had declared the defendant guilty of hacking to death her 26-year-old daughter, who had delivered a baby out of wedlock, and handed her a 15-year prison term on June 25.
The sentence was immediately commuted to half because the victim’s father dropped charges against his wife.
But the Court of Cassation, which has been reviewing the case for the past six months, overturned the verdict and asked the Criminal Court to consider the murder as being committed in a “fit of fury”.
“The defendant was enraged when she killed her daughter and lost her judgment, therefore she benefits from a reduction in penalty,” the Criminal Court said in its second ruling on February 14.
The court added that the victim challenged her mother by telling her that she became pregnant from an unknown person and was going to keep her baby because she was free to do whatever she wanted and no one had the right to interfere in her life.
“The victim’s actions violated her family’s honour and brought them shame. What she did affected the defendant’s mental status and she became extremely angry. Therefore, she benefits from a reduction,” the court ruled.
The court also ordered her immediate release “since she has already spent the one-year sentence in detention”.
But Abdullat told The Jordan Times he appealed the verdict because he believes the defendant should get the maximum punishment.
When the woman was sentenced in June, she cursed the judges and shouted outside the courtroom that she should have been freed instead of receiving this “harsh sentence”.
The defendant’s husband, who was present in the courtroom, also cursed the judges and the verdict.
The defendant had argued in court that she should benefit from the ‘’fit of fury’’ clause as stipulated in Article 98 of the Penal Code, claiming she killed her daughter in a moment of rage.
Article 98 stipulates that a convicted defendant receives a minimum of three months and a maximum of two years in prison for a murder that is committed in a fit of fury.
The defendant’s other daughter, who was standing trial for complicity in the murder, was acquitted by the tribunal for “lack of evidence”.
The victim, who had been divorced for seven years, became pregnant and went to stay at her sister’s house so that her parents would not know about her “illegitimate pregnancy”, the charge sheet said, adding that she delivered a baby boy on July 28, and her mother happened to visit her sister the same day.
The mother, who noticed that her daughter was tired, discovered that she had just delivered a baby and decided to kill her to cleanse the family honour, according to the charge sheet.
“The defendant hacked her daughter repeatedly with an axe while she slept, then strangled her with her hands until she made sure she was dead,” the charge sheet said.
The woman then headed to the nearest police station in the Jordan Valley and turned herself in, claiming to have killed her daughter “to protect the family’s honour”, the charge sheet added.
The tribunal comprised justices Omar Khleifat, Mohammad Abu Dalbouh and Hayel Amro.