Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot
Ahlam al-Tamimi

Jordan’s highest court has prevented the extradition of Ahlam al-Tamimi, a Jordanian citizen who faces US charges in the 2001 bombing of the Jerusalem Sbarro pizza restaurant that killed 15 people, including two Americans. She was sentenced to prison in Israel for accompanying the suicide bomber and ordering him to detonate the explosives. She was then released to Jordan in a 2011 prisoner swap between Israel and the Hamas.

Jordanian state media reported on Tuesday that a day earlier, Jordan’s Court of Cassation upheld a lower-court decision on grounds that Jordan and the United States don’t have an extradition treaty.

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However, the March 28, 1995 Jordan International Extradition Treaty with the United States is part of the record, submitted to the Senate by then Secretary of State Warren Christopher and signed by then President William J. Clinton and the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

According to its accompanying notes, the treaty represents an important step in “combating terrorism by excluding from the scope of the political offense exception serious offenses typically committed by terrorists, e.g., crimes against a Head of State or first family member of either Party, aircraft hijacking, aircraft sabotage, crimes against internationally protected persons, including diplomats, hostage-taking, narcotics trafficking, and other offenses for which the United States and Jordan have an obligation to extradite or submit to prosecution by reason of a multilateral international agreement or treaty.”

On Friday, Arnold Roth, father of one of the children murdered in the Sbarro attack, received a response to his inquiry with the Justice Dept. regarding the refused extradition. It went as follows (redacted):

“On January 25, 1997, the Jordanian Court of Cassation ruled that the Treaty was unconstitutional because the Government of Jordan had not submitted the Treaty to its Parliament for endorsement. The Jordanian Parliament has so far not approved the Treaty.

“Since the Court of Cassation ruling in 1997, Jordan has not granted any of the extradition requests the United States has made pursuant to the Treaty. The only fugitive the Kingdom of Jordan extradited to the United States pursuant to the Treaty was Eyad Ismoil, who was extradited in 1995, that is, before the Jordanian Court of Cessation ruled that the Treaty was unconstitutional.”

Regarding the al-Tamimi extradition request, the DOJ wrote:

“The US has made repeated efforts to lawfully return the defendant to the United States to face prosecution.

“The DOJ generally does not comment on specific pending extradition requests. That said, in this case it appears that Jordan has rejected our official extradition request for Tamimi.

“The DOJ and its Jordanian counterparts continue to work together in the interest of justice, especially on terrorism matters that have significant importance for both of our countries.”

The US indictment against al-Tamimi was unsealed last week.

According the Jordanian news website Hala Akhbar, al-Tamimi said she was sure the Jordanian judiciary “will be fair to me.”

As long as that’s taken care off, all is well, then.

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