Jordan said to charge Israeli embassy guard in absentia with murder
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Jordan said to charge Israeli embassy guard in absentia with murder

Amman demands justice for Israeli security officer who shot dead two Jordanians after being attacked, threatens international legal moves

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017 meets with security guard 'Ziv,' who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman on July 23. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017 meets with security guard 'Ziv,' who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman on July 23. (Haim Zach/GPO)

The security guard from Israel’s embassy in Jordan who shot dead two Jordanians at the Amman compound after being stabbed by one of them with a screwdriver has reportedly been charged in absentia with murder.

Jordan’s Attorney General Akram Masaadeh told Jordan’s Petra News Agency his agency has completed the investigation into Sunday’s incident in which 17-year old Mohammad Jawawdeh and Bashar Hamarneh were killed, according to a translation by the Al Ghad daily.

He charged the guard, Ziv, whose last name has not been cleared for publication, and who is in Israel, with two counts of murder and for bearing an unlicensed weapon.

Masaadeh said the embassy employee’s diplomatic immunity would not prevent him being charged and standing trial in Israel.

Separately, the government tasked Justice Minister Awad Abu Jarad with “achieving criminal justice” in the case, The Jordan Times reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017,meets with Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and security guard 'Ziv,' who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017,meets with Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and security guard ‘Ziv,’ who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them. (Haim Zach/GPO)

The Jordanian cabinet also set up a committee to “recommend a plan for well-planned legal action at all levels, including internationally if necessary, and to be prepared for the stage that follows the prosecution’s completion of the investigation, the trial and the verdict.”

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told the cabinet that the committee will pursue justice “in accordance with the international law, which provides legal tools to… ensure criminal justice.”

On Thursday, Ziv was interrogated by Israeli authorities. He told investigators that Jawawdeh stabbed him after learning that he was Israeli, Channel 10 reported.

Jordanians shout slogans during a demonstration in Amman on July 21, 2017, protesting against new Israeli security measures implemented at the Temple Mount. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanians shout slogans during a demonstration in Amman on July 21, 2017, protesting against new Israeli security measures implemented at the Temple Mount. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

Jawawdeh, the son of a furniture store owner, was in an embassy residence installing a bedroom set at the time of the incident.

Hamarneh, the landlord, was also hit by a bullet and later died of his wounds.

The security guard rejected Jordanian claims that the incident was sparked by a dispute over furniture, saying he was attacked for “nationalistic” reasons, according to Hebrew reports.

The police, Shin Bet security agency, and the Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic security wing are in charge of the investigation, which is being personally led by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, according to the Ynet news site.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a press conference in the capital Amman on July 25, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a press conference in the capital Amman on July 25, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

During security cabinet meetings following Sunday evening’s incident, Mandelblit told ministers that as a signatory to the Vienna Convention, Israel is required to investigate suspects upon their return from a host country that provided diplomatic immunity for charges against them, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Wednesday.

Jordanian authorities had initially sought to interrogate the guard over the incident, while Israel refused to hand him over, citing diplomatic immunity.

Only after US intervention did Amman relent, allowing the guard and the rest of the embassy staff to leave Jordan. However, Jordan said the Israeli diplomats will not be allowed to return unless the guard is put on trial, Jordanian media reported Thursday.

File: Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks during a press conference with US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House on April 5, 2017. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)
Jordan’s King Abdullah II. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

On Thursday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II strongly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for warmly receiving Ziv at his office.

The king called for the security guard to be tried and accused Netanyahu of “political showmanship” and of using “this crime to score personal political points,” after the Israeli leader posted photos of himself embracing the guard.

The monarch threatened the affair would have a negative affect on bilateral ties between Amman and Jerusalem.

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