AMMAN: A 16-year-old Jordanian boy has lost both of his hands and an eye in a revenge attack by a criminal gang that targeted his father in the industrial city of Zarqa in Jordan.
A video of the victim has gone viral, causing public outrage. King Abdullah II has taken a personal interest in the case and requested that the boy be treated at the King Hussein Medical Center. He also called on police to pursue the perpetrators.
Queen Rania has also tweeted about the case. “How do we replace for you what the criminals took away? How do we reunite your mother’s heart and those of your family? How do we protect our children from those who are not being deterred? This is a heinous crime. Our hearts are with you. I add my voice for the perpetrators facing the most severe punishment,” she said.
Amer Sartawi, spokesman of the Jordanian police, told Arab News that the attacker and five members of his gang were apprehended and will be tried in the state security court. “A special unit worked on the case and was able to arrest the lead attacker and five of his cohorts. Two pieces of weapons and sharp objects that were used in the crime were confiscated. Further investigation will determine if there are other accomplices,” he said.
Mahmmoud Zawahreh, director of Naya Community Center in Zarqa, told Arab News that the filming and distribution of the video was as ugly as the crime itself. “This crime reflects a moral low of humanity and a sign of the increase of the culture of violence in recent years in our society.”
Zawahreh, a youth activist, said that while financial losses can be replenished, moral losses will be long-lasting. “We are suffering from a moral loss that will not be easily replaced. We need to have a thorough study of how to deter such morally reprehensible crimes in the future.”
Jordan’s police force also arrested a person charged with filming and distributing the video of the victim’s injuries.
He is being held in violation of Article 11 of the Cybercrime law, which prohibits violating the privacy of children.
Taghrid Doghmi, director of the Wae’e Center for Human Rights Training, told Arab News that the usual punishment in civil courts for kidnapping and causing permanent harm is a 10 year prison sentence. Public anger expressed on social media has led to calls for capital punishment and life imprisonment for the attackers.
Sartawi said that the state security court will charge the accused with terrorizing the public. He added that, if convicted, the penalty for the charged crimes will be a lifetime in jail for the perpetrators. The lead criminal has 172 prior convictions, police said.
Doghmi supported the arrest of the person who took the video, saying that the distribution of the clip is a clear crime according to Jordanian law. “Even if the victim or his family agreed to the filming, this is still a crime because of the age of the victim.”
Muath Momani, director of Lawyers Without Borders, told Arab News that the entire penal code must be revised. “We must think long and hard about how to deal with cases like this with a mix of direct incarceration and social rehabilitation taken into consideration, to ensure that such crimes are not repeated.”