Wide Royal pardon in Jordan may include Chalabi
Several Jordanian MPs have told Al Bawaba that unofficial talks between the parliament and the government over the issue of a wide royal pardon (general amnesty) are underway. Islamist deputies, who do not make up a majority in current parliament session, have expressed their satisfaction with the initiative, which they consider “a positive step by the government towards political openness”.
The current talks have also given rise to Ahmad Chalabi’s name, a powerful member of the Iraqi Interim Council, who was sentenced [in absentia] to 22 years for fraud and embezzlement following the collapse of the Petra bank in 1989. Several political analysts expect the pardon to include Chalabi.
Deputy speaker of the lower house and a representative of the Islamic Labor Front, Ali Abu Sukkar, told Al Bawaba Sunday morning that “unofficial meetings have taken place between several members of parliament and the prime minister regarding a possible royal pardon.”
“We expect this pardon to include political activists…which [should it happen] will reflect on the government’s genuine interest to foster more political openness,” commented Abu Sukkar.
“As Islamist deputies, we hope that financial crimes will not be included in this pardon, as any monetary interests that have been defrauded belong to the original owners…no one in government has the right to forgo such rights on someone else’s behalf,” Abu Sukkar concluded, referring to Ahmad Chalabi’s more than $300m lawsuit.
Last August, 21 MPs signed a petition demanding a re-opening of the Petra bank case. They have also suggested that the Interpol should intervene and return Chalabi to Jordan for sentencing.
MP Jamal Dmour confirmed to Al Bawaba that while no official talks have taken place yet with the government, “it is only his majesty the king who can issue amnesty [pardon] to anyone as it is only him who possesses this constitutional right. We are talking to the government as we do want the king to issue a pardon, however nothing is confirmed or official yet.” Dmour conveyed.
On the topic of Chalabi, Dmour explained that “Jordan is having to reconsider that way it handles its relationship with Iraq now that the old regime is gone…a fresh and clean start is required - one that does not carry any luggage from the past.”
“If Chalabi’s name needs to be included in the list of those pardoned to ensure good relations with Iraq, which I think are in Jordan’s best interest, then so be it. Jordan’s interests should come first when dealing with the issue of Ahmad Chalabi,” Dmour concluded.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)