By Noura Wazani
A lawyer for Hamas expelled leaders said Monday that the defense team will appeal the Jordan's Higher Court of Justice rejection, on procedural ground, of a contest filed against the expulsion of four Jordanian members of the Palestinian group.
“The defense will appeal after the power-of-attorney is corrected,” said Hani Khassawneh.
The court said that the power-of-attorney given by the four Islamists to their lawyers was made outside the kingdom and therefore "unlawful, prompting a rejection of the appeal," according to the lawyer.
The head of the defense team, Saleh Armouti, walked out of the courtroom immediately after the judgment, expressing "deep disappointment" with the verdict, which he said was "political", reported AFP Monday.
Khasawna agreed. He told Albawaba.com that the expulsion was "unconstitutional".
He said that another step to be taken by the defense team is to appeal to King Abdullah II to close the case, due to the fact that “it is a political issue in the first place.”
He added that “Jordan’s public opinion does not accept such arbitrary measures,” referring to the deportation of the leaders last year.
"We had hoped that the court would not refer to procedural issues but get to the core of the matter," said Khasawna, a former information minister.
He reiterated that the expulsion orders issued in November 1999 against four leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, "contradict article nine of the Constitution", which bans the expulsion of Jordanians from their country.
Armouti filed the initial appeal in January, two months after Jordan deported to Qatar Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Misha'l, spokesman Ibrahim Ghosheh and political bureau members Ezzat Rushuq and Sami Khater.
Their expulsion was the culmination of an unprecedented crackdown by the Jordanian authorities against Hamas, launched in August.
They closed Hamas offices in the kingdom and deported its top leaders, accusing them of illegal activity that threatened the stability and foreign relations of Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.
According to AFP, Jordanian authorities have repeatedly said they will not go back on their decisions and stressed that the Hamas leaders will only be allowed to return if they totally renounce party membership and activity – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)