More Bad Math

Black Iris PSA: After reading this, please resist the strong urge to punch a nearby wall; you’ll only break a fist.

AMMAN – The Criminal Court has sentenced a 27-year-old man to 10 years in prison after convicting him of murdering four of his sisters in Salt last year.

The tribunal declared N. M. guilty of committing murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

But the tribunal immediately reduced his sentence to 10 years because the victims’ family dropped charges against him.

The victims were aged between 20 and 26, according to the court verdict, and one of them was six months pregnant with a male foetus, it added.

The same tribunal acquitted four other male family members, including the victims’ father, from complicity in murder charges and instigating murder, due to a “lack of evidence”.

Almost two years before the incident, one of the victims filed a lawsuit against the defendant accusing him of sexually assaulting her, court transcripts said.

The defendant was tried at the Criminal Court on molestation charges, but was acquitted one month before the murder.

More recently, the court added, the same victim filed a lawsuit accusing her father of sexual assault and he was subsequently arrested and detained.

“The four victims all testified against their father, which angered the defendant so he invited them to dinner to discuss the matter on May 17,” the court said.

During dinner, the court added, the defendant tried to convince his sisters to drop charges or change their testimony as their father would otherwise end up in jail for at least 15 years, but they refused.

“Instead, one of the victims threatened the defendant that she would file a case against him, which angered him and he drew a gun he was carrying and shot them all,” the court said.

Some of the victims tried to escape and run to other rooms, but he followed them and shot them all to death, according to court documents.

The defendant immediately headed to the Balqa Governorate police station, turned himself in and handed the gun used in the shooting to officers on duty, the court added.

The tribunal decided to amend the premeditated murder charges originally levelled against the defendant, because “it was clear… that the murders occurred following a heated argument and not because the defendant plotted to murder his sisters.”

The court also acquitted the defendant of charges of aborting the six-month-old foetus “because his intention was to kill his sister and not the foetus”.

Sunday’s verdict, handed down by judges Mohammad Ibrahim, Azzam Obeidat and Qassim Dughmi, will automatically be reviewed by the Court of Cassation within the next 30 days. [source]

4 Sisters
4 Testimonies
1 Sexually Abusive Father
1 Sexually Abusive Brother
1 Six Month Old Feutus
1 Gun

= 10 Years


  • Let me guess…the abusing father dropped the charges against his abusing son?!

    I am curious though if it’s Jordanian Law or judge interpretations as is this case with most honor killings?

  • “The court also acquitted the defendant of charges of aborting the six-month-old foetus “because his intention was to kill his sister and not the foetus”.”

    So ridiculous that even I don’t have a comment.

  • Mohammad Ibrahim, Azzam Obeidat and Qassim Dughmi

    Why would these judges give such a verdict? Do you think judges in Jordan are afraid from retribution if they one day give the fair verdict to one of these killers?

    It’s actually interesting that the judges’ names were published. Usually we don’t read their names in these stories, and I personally have always found the judges the most interesting party to these stories. Reading these stories in the past without any names had even left me with the impression that there are no people involved, that the case gets handled by an automated system of some sort, where the defendent stands in front of a computer that randomly picks a number of years (or months) for him to stay in prison for what he did. But when you read the names of the judges, it finally sinks in that the problem really is people, not just “the system”; the system IS people.

    Do these judges simply not care about the victims? Are they just as oblivious to the value of human life as the killers are? Or is it that they are afraid that the killers’ family or tribe would seek revenge against them if they hand down the right verdict (hmm, like the death penalty maybe)?

    Mohammad Ibrahim, Azzam Obeidat, and Qassim Dughmi. God forgive them, that’s all I can say.

  • We have one of the stupidist court systems in the world.

    (And I know that “stupidist” isn’t a word, but it fits in this instance.)

  • The issues of honor killings and family oppressions against females are the only things that make me sometimes be ashamed to be Jordanian. This cannot be tolerated in a state that claims to be “modern”.

  • I wonder along with Hamzeh why judges continue to issue sentences as lenient as these. However, I also wonder why, when judges do so, they are rarely held accountable in the popular media. The Jordan Times, for example, seems to be pretty ambivalent when it comes to judicial craziness, whether it involves lenient sentences for honor killings or a young woman being charged with adultery instead of her mother and sisters being charged with attempted murder of a newborn baby. Why don’t they cover the stories more thoroughly and allow op-eds on the subject? This might demonstrate to judges that a number of people are upset by their rulings and that they will be held accountable.

  • A gun he was carrying with him ? So it was pre-meditated. Its at times like this when I think the death penalty may sometimes be warranted.

    That is an excellent observation. The court said:

    “which angered the defendant so he invited them to dinner to discuss the matter on May 17”

    So the court acknowledges that the killer “invited over dinner [for discussion]” his sisters as a product of his anger at what they did.

    “one of the victims threatened the defendant that she would file a case against him, which angered him and he drew a gun he was carrying and shot them all”

    And the court acknowledges that the killer had brought a gun to the meeting. The meeting which, according to the court, he called after being angered by his sisters’ decision against their father.

    What I would like to do is ask the three judges, to come here and explain to everyone, to enlighten everyone, to make clear to everyone, that which any human being won’t be able to understand yet the judges have the audacity to call “clearly” proven; and that’s how they concluded that this murder was not premeditated.

    Everything the court said points to the contrary of its final conclusion. It just shows you how ridiculous our courts are.

  • King Abdallah II can end it now…this second…this moment.

    So, what you’re saying is that he basically doesn’t want to, or simply doesn’t care.

    Some people say that it’s neither; that the king just can’t intervene because it would upset the tribes, but that’s as far as they go in their speak when they mention this.

    My question is: how upset would they be? What would happen?

    What would happen if the next such criminal was handed down the death sentence and the king approved it? Would we suddenly see tribes in Jordan come out of every corner and demonstrate to overthrow the king? I find this very unlikely.

    Maybe the criminal (and the victim’s) family will have clashes with the police, but that wouldn’t be something new now, would it? Remember what happened in the Southen Shunah (was it this year or last?).

    So what is it then? What is it that is stopping King Abdullah the 2nd from intervening to set the precedent and put an end to this stupidity in our country?

    I would honestly love to hear what he has to say as an answer to this question.

  • Hamzah + Jim: Because why should King Abdullah intervene… yet again. What would happen to the principle of independence of the judiciary which is supposed to be sacred. What kind of precedent does it set if the decisions of courts in simple criminal matters are overruled. So lets say the King intervenes today in this case (hardly best practice), so tomorrow, when another legal issue is dealt with unsatisfactorily are we supposed to ask the King to intervene again? Shouldn’t the Courts have an inherent authority to apply the law and to do it fittingly? No, if things like these can be changed then it should be done by us, the people, the courts and our MPs (whatever they may be) otherwise it would simply be a matter of solving one problem today to create a bigger one tomorrow.

  • If we did a poll in jordan about supporting “honor” killings what do you all think would be the results?

    I know what the results are. Just like the results of the study about violence against women where almost 90% of women supported or lets say were “ok” with violence againt them.

  • What solution do you guys suggest?

    It’s not like our judiciary is independent in Jordan, is it? Plus the king does have the right under our current constitution to intervene. He is part of every branch of the state, including the judiciary. And he can intervene indirectly through the legislative branch (parliament) which he has the right to even dissolve if it need be.

    So the framework for intervention exists and please don’t be naive as to assume it has not been used before, so why not use it now to bring about positive change?

    And people are neglecting the most important part of this, that most of these criminals under our current laws do deserve much harsher punishments, so it is only an error in judgement in the courts that produces these terrible results.

    Well, someone has to appoint the judges, and they don’t appoint them without review, and if anyone has followed the types of proceedings that go on in the US when a new candidate is up for the supreme court, they are grilled exactly about these types of cases (if I may draw a parallel).

    So the king can do it, and I think he should, and I hope he is reading my words right now to know that I, and many others, would cheer him on if he put an end to this.

  • Hamzah: there is no doubt that we have an ailing judicial system in Jordan. You’re talking about a system where the minimum age for being a judge is 27 years old. Where most of these judges have barely earned their university degree, and hardly none of them have ever experienced the world outside Jordan. Even the Minister of Justice acknowledges this. This is the main reason behind the latest judicial reform plan (which I doubt will see fruition).

    The King can intervene in a lot of things and he usually does when it involves bad policy and bad politics.

    But you have to ask yourself, how do you encourage an independent judicial system while meddling in it (even if its for the better) at the same time? How many anti-honor crime bills has the government put before parliament over the years under the directive of the King? How many of them have been turned down?

    But before that you should also ask a question that was semi-posed here earlier on: how do you impose a cultural and social law on a people who, for the most part, are completely accepting of that aspect of their culture; of their tradition.

    Economic reform, political reform…easily done with the swipe of a pen.

    Social reform is a whole other ballgame.

  • Nas I agree with you. social reform is hard. we all know that.

    But it also takes two to tango. why in parliament elections, the candidates do not advertise their intentions to make a law change (regarding honor killing)? none of their campaigns even mention that.

    or maybe the problem is us: why we do not vote for people who call for a change instead?

    i respect your thought that economic and political reforms are different, but laws are laws. we are not less civilized or less capable of becoming civilized like the rest of the modern world. Legal reforms WILL most definitly bring social reform and accompany it.

    unfortunately even our constitution protects honor killings. our constitution should be amended to state clearly that honor killing is not only against law, but against humanity.

    its the rule of law that will always bring social reform.

    “The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who commence on themselves” – George Bernard Shaw.

    so before we blame the judiciary system of Jordan, lets elect the right people, AMEND our out-dated constitution and build a better judiciary base. its the only way honor killing will cease to exist.

  • See this is what I do not get: The whole media and press were worked up over a girl and her mother throwing a child in a dumpster. But honor killings receive recognition in a small 200-word piece tucked away among the local pages. Honor killings never receive ruckus or attention, but sex scandals do. But then again, a Jordanian female’s life is so very cheap apparently.

    I still cannot comprehend, how can the system itself protect madmen (if the crime is committed in a fit of fury, then the MALE receives a reduced sentence). So hey, if I’m pissed off, I have the right to head to the street and just blow off people’s heads, and hey, if all my victims are females, even better. That’s what our law says.

    Again, in Jordan, judges rule, the law does not rule and we certainly do not have the concept of “rule of law”. Judges can interpret the law in whatever way they please, and these judges are perhaps just as backward as the person who killed his sisters. Ye3ni, how can it not be premeditated murder, when the killer already held a gun in his hand while he was talking to his sisters?

    But of course, I’m sure that the policemen had to finish investigations quickly so that they head to their iftar tables, and maybe the judge himself also had some Tarneeb tournament somewhere and had to quickly wrap up the case.

    Yes Nas, social change does not happen overnight. Social change needs the power of will, and action to come about. These people obviously lack the power of will, because they’re comfortably numb in their rotten situation. But why don’t we hold these judges accountable to the verdicts that they rule?

    I was with a colleague reporter trying to investigate the death of a foreign housemaid, and getting the information was truly an ordeal. Each judge and employee would direct us to somewhere us to get a signature in order to look at the files. Once we had all the paperwork done, the judge told us that because a verdict was not issued yet, we weren’t allowed to take a look at the files. It is all just one big mob where each employee protects another incompetent employee. There is no way to get information (except for the crumbs that they occasionally throw) and there is no way a person could actually penetrate the system.

    I say overhaul the whole system. Get new judges (import them from abroad if you must) and a whole new lineup of employees, because our judiciary system is just as incompetent as a public sector administration, in fact, it is a public sector administration. I don’t care how hard it is, but Jordanians deserve a taste of living under in a country where laws are actually applied and rule of law actually exists. Something radical has to be happen here to shock the system and take these morons away from their comfort zone.

  • So the father was acquitted of the sexual assault charges? Was that based on DNA tests or something? I don’t get it… In case this story was 100% true then it’s the most disgusting, outrageous and stupid thing ever!!

    Our glorious criminal code gives a father a reduced sentence if he kills a daughter out of fear for “his” honor, but when a father rapes his very own daughter, his very own flesh and blood, he gets away with it… it’s his honor after all and he’s free to do whatever he wants with it!! This is for disgusting

    10 years for killing 4 women?!! what is that counting each woman as 1/4 human? And yeah he was angry so they reduced the sentence, how palusible is that? Next time you get angry and at a family member go ahead and shoot him, it’s not your fault you got angry!! This is for outrageous

    And yeah when you kill a preganant woman the embryo isn’t supposed to die. What are the odds of that? This is for stupid

  • My sources at a local newspaper indicate that the pregnant sister was carrying her father’s child as a result of the sexual abuse. This was not clear in the article (for obvious reasons).

    So the story as I see it is that the father sexually assaults the daughters resulting in one of the daughters becoming pregnant (how dare she!) and therefore tarnishing family honor. And how does one go about cleansing one’s valued family honor? Exactly.

  • Well, considering that the education system in the Arab world (I’m Egyptian, I live in Egypt, but thank God I grew up elsewhere), it’s not surprising how the judge arrived at that answer! And, someone here said that Jordan had the “stupidist” court system… actually, I haven’t heard of a good court system in the Arab world and I’ve been living here for 10 years come this December… Anyone want to enlighten me?

  • lets face it. we’re a hypocritical society. we feel superior because of our connection to islam, the chosen religion, but it is all in theory. there could not be a bigger gap between what we preach and what we actually apply be it in our courts or in our everyday lives.

  • okay sorry back to my earlier question, does anybody know the extent of Jordanian law?

    It is important to distinguish between judge interpretations vs. actual laws. It sounds like the judges found the defendant (brother) guilty, but the judgment right away was reduced-a standard procedure for honor killing cases? Is this standard procedure granted by current law? Or is it a court administrative procedure? Is there a lawyer in the house???

  • how do you encourage an independent judicial system while meddling in it (even if its for the better) at the same time?

    You can’t achieve a fully independent judicial system. Judges don’t rain on us from the sky one night in which the moon is blue. They are appointed, and they are appointed after a review procedure. This review procedure implies requirements, requirements that somebody like the king in Jordan has control over. Of course, judges do need a certain level of independence in how they do their work after being entrusted with it, but if everybody acknowledges that the current judges are icompetent, then there should be no dispute over the need for intervention, and then can be as simple as the king having a few words with the judges, asking them to do what’s obvious and right (basically telling them ‘do your job or else’).

    do you impose a cultural and social law on a people who, for the most part, are completely accepting of that aspect of their culture; of their tradition?

    This aspect is given way more attention than it deserves in this discussion. We live in Jordan, hardly the ideal state when it comes to laws. People, regardless of their position on a certain topic, are almost always dissatisfied with anything done by the government or the parliament. How do you impose the law? Well the law in this case only applies to a few individuals every year, so this particular law does not affect the mass population in Jordan, and if it did happen that clashes errupted because one family got what it did not expect in the courts, it would not be the first time force is used to subdue protest in Jordan, and this time, it would be well justified and rightfully so under the banner of maintaining order and the rule of law.

    People here are underestimating the power of fear of the law. If we in Jordan have our first case where the killer gets the punishment he deserves, and if our authorities and our press deal with that correctly (which is not as hard as people might expect), I believe the number of honor killings in Jordan will start dropping sharply year after year. But as long as we continue like this, the killers will always feel protected by the law.

  • I’m copy pasting this on my blog. not that mine is anywhere compared to yours, but i just want it at my blog.. something to look at and freaking do something. This is beyond any mental capabilities i posses. :S

  • Was this story published in the ARABIC language press in Jordan? If so, was it written with the same gruesome details? Too often these stories are only covered by the JT, English-language blogs, etc, and they don’t reach even 2% of the Jordanian population. The public is consumed by the trash can baby story, but they simply don’t know the details of these despicable honorless crimes. I’m not saying that if they did know they would go to the streets and protest, but not providing them with accurate, detailed, timely information in ARABIC is also a huge hurdle to changing people’s perceptions about the victims of these crimes.

  • Pheras Hilal and others who gave comments about the judges,

    You guys have to know that the judges do not have anything to do with the sentence. Jordan has a codified judicial system (french system) and everything is already written in the codes (Laws Books) and the judges cannot in any way create new judgements or sentences. They do not put the law, they just apply them on the cases they look into.

    Creating the law is the duty of the Parliment, so instead of blaiming the judges blame the parliment members who set these laws. Not attack the judges or ask for importing new judges from abroad pr start a “bash the judges” party.

    The English system is what you look for where the judge can estimate what a good sentence would be for a certain case. While we apply the french system, the matter goes by studying the evidences and what really happened with the intentions of the crime then decide according to the “already written CODE” what sentence should be announced. Each case has its own circumstances, such as you read above, before the family of the victims dropped charges it was a lifetime sentence but when the charges were dropped the sentence changed to become 10 years in jail. We have it in Islam I think, when death sentence is about to be applied in Saudi Arabia, if the victim’s family dropped charges at any point before the execution the sentence will change.

    If you want to blame anyone blame the system, the people who set the laws (which by the way are approved by his Majesty) and the people who vote for these people to become parliment members to set these laws.

    Have a nice day everyone.

  • Classy, you should read the article again, and this time pay attention to the sequence of events and then think how the hell the judges reached the conclusion that the murder wasn’t premeditated.

    The guy becomes angry, and as a result [according to the judges] he invites his sisters to “discuss things,” and brings the murder weapon with him to the meeting.

    This has premeditated written all over it, and almost every crime happens out of anger, and anger or rage is almost always involved. So just because the man gets enraged easily, doesn’t mean that he deserves a reduced sentence.

    The law says this man gets the death penalty, but the judges are not applying the law. That’s how I see it.

  • Dear Hamzeh,

    First of all I would like to clear something; I am not with the sentence, I don’t say its fair or not. The guy made a crime, a bad one, I am against what he did 100% and with him being punished. But I am here not discussing the sentence itself. I was discussing the role of the judges and blaming them or not. The law is not fair yes its not fair, but this is how it is.

    Second of all, frankly I think you should read the Criminal Law before saying things that you are not aware of, with all due respect to you of course, I am not trying to offend you at all bro. I know that what you are saying comes from common sense and the idea of killing is punishable by lifetime or death sentence. Its not in all cases.

    Ya basha there is something called “العذر المخفف” in the Criminal Law, it exists in all laws that follow the french system, especially the arabic countries laws. Whether it is fair or not its not for the judges to be blamed for, they didn’t come up with these laws.

    خليني اكتبلك بالعربي شوي
    هسه انا مو خبير بالقانون الجزائي بس اللي بعرفه انه كل قضية بتتكيف حسب احداثها و النوايا و الاثباتات و الادلة. و الشاب حسب ما انا فهمت انه حكم عليه بالسجن مدى الحياة و لأنه اسقطت الشكوى من قبل الاهل الحكم تلقائيا يخفف و يبقى الحق العام و لو ما في حق عام ممكن كمان يطلع على طول.0

    هسه انسى انه الشكوى اسقطت..في اشي اسمه العذر المخفف و لأنك ما قرأت القانون و واضح هذا الاشي من كلامك انا بدي احطلك شو بحكي القانونز0

    المادة (98)0
    يستفيد من العذر المخفف فاعل الجريمة الذي أقدم عليها بسورة غضب شديد ناتج عن عمل غير محق وعلى جانب من الخطورة أتاه المجني عليه.0

    في الأسباب المخففة
    المادة (99)0
    إذا وجدت في قضية أسباب مخففة قضت المحكمة:0
    1- بدلا من الاعدام بالأشغال الشاقة المؤبدة أو بالأشغال الشاقة المؤقتة من عشر سنين إلى عشرين سنة.0
    2- بدلا من الأشغال الشاقة المؤبدة بالأشغال المؤقته مدة لا تقل عن ثماني سنوات وبدلا من الاعتقال المؤبد بالاعتقال المؤقت مدة لا تقل عن ثماني سنوات.0
    3- ولها أن تخفض كل عقوبة جنائية أخرى إلى النصف.0
    4- ولها أيضا ما خلا حالة التكرار ، أن تخفض أية عقوبة لا يتجاوز حدها الأدنى ثلاث سنوات إلى الحبس سنة على الأقل.0

    المادة (105)0
    تسري أحكام الأسباب المشددة أو المخففة للعقوبة على الترتيب التالي:0
    1- الأسباب المشددة المادية.0
    2- الأعذار.0
    3- الأسباب المشددة الشخصية.0
    4- الأسباب المخففة.0

    There are other things that intrfere in a case that you, I or others are not aware of, otherwise a judge doesn’t have to study 4 years at law school then work 2 yaars minimum in courts as a clerk then study 2 more years in the Judicial Institute (المعهد القضائي( which has the toughest exams to be accepted in then the toughest exams to be graduated. These judges studied hard for minimum 8 years to be aware of how the law works and handle cases, if it was as easy as you think then me or you can just read the Codes and apply what we read in the Code without looking into the case and study the incident, the intentions, the reasons, the results or the evidences presented in the file case.

    Sorry for the long reply my friend and I hope at least I made sense in what I just said.


  • Social stigma is still a blinding factor in our journey forward when it comes to facing issues like honor crimes. Our judicial system is crippled because of this and it will take a revolution to get the ‘system’ to justly deal with honor crimes. We are choking and paying the price of societal rape with every honor crime we live through.

  • Oh. My. God.
    I don’t believe in the death penalty but I willing to turn my head because this creep needs to pay. He took 5 lives and he gets TEN YEARS????!!!!
    And for what? Protecting another creep who doesn’t deserve to live, a father who is so low he would sexually abuse his daughter???

    This is disgusting and revolting and it is the reason why our country is so messed up.
    I wish the people in charge would, FOR ONCE, step up and do the right thing!!

  • Classy, I’m actually aware of the articles that you quoted and I have read them before, many times actually.

    But this man did not commit his crime simply “in a fit of fury”, it was premiditated based on the facts that the court report acknowledged and I explained in my last reply to you. In addition to that, article 98 adds a condition on the “fit of fury” and it’s a condition that this case clearly does not meet. Article 98 says that the victim must have committed a dangerous and unlawful or unjustified act for the killer to qualify for a “3othor mokhaffef”. So now, the problem that the judges’ position faces in this case is twofold:

    – First, the judges had no basis to claim that the killer had acted in a fit of fury because of the clear evidence the crime was premiditated.

    – Second, they had no basis to accuse the four victims (all four of them) of committing acts that were both dangerous and “ghair mo7eqqah” (however you wanna translate that one) in order to satisfy the condition in article 98.

    This is why my friend I said the judges did not even do their job! Because even this louzy law that is clearly unjust and unfair does not condone this murderer’s crime, yet these three judges were OK with it.

  • Well as I said bro that we don’t know the exact facts of the case to judge if the judges did their job properly or not 🙂

    I am not going to tell what I have heard from a person who is in charge in the judicial system about this particular case (men bab el seter) but what I heard is that the father never abused the girls sexually nor did the brother.

    Anyways there is a God and he knows the truth and will punish who deserves punishing.

  • I am not going to tell what I have heard from a person who is in charge in the judicial system about this particular case (men bab el seter) but what I heard is that the father never abused the girls sexually nor did the brother.

    I’m sorry, but I think I’m gonna have to ignore this claim for the obvious conflict of interest seeing as it [the claim] comes from somebody who is in a position of responsibility in the broken system we’re talking about.

    But even if true, what you were told doesn’t change the fact that this particular murderer killed four victims, not one, so would you say that article 98 applies in all the four cases? Since they were all killed at the same time, I would be willing to grant the killer the fit of fury in all four murderers if I grant it for one, but what is the “dangerous and ghair mo7eq” act that each of the victims committed to warrant the application of article 98 on her? According to the story, the court mentions nothing about that.

Your Two Piasters: