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‘Life’ coalition seeks to end death penalty in Jordan


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Solidarity Is Global Institute (SIGI) last week launched a coalition calling for an end to the death penalty in Jordan.
The coalition, titled “Life”, is part of SIGI’s Rule of Law and Fair Trials from a Gender Perspective Project and seeks to oppose and reduce the death penalty from a gender perspective.
Speaking during an online launch event, SIGI Executive Director Asma Khader said that the coalition aims to highlight the importance of the right to life and justice for all.
“The coalition strives to build a peaceful and secure society by conducting several activities from a gender perspective to raise awareness about this important topic and work gradually to decrease the offences that are punishable by death,” Khader said.
"We also seek justice for victims' families, but we always need to give space for the appearance of new evidence or human error,” she added.
New evidence reported worldwide shows cases in which people who were sentenced to death or executed were later proven to be innocent, according to Khader.
She emphasised the need to establish a special fund for women on death row in particular, “because on many occasions, women do not have the financial means to reach a settlement with a victim’s family”.
“Men on death row are usually supported by their families, who are willing to pay high price to help them reach settlements with the victim’s family. This is not the case for women, and that is why a special fund is needed to help them,” Khader added.
Currently, there are 19 women on death row in Jordan. The last time a woman was executed in Jordan was in February 2015, when convict Sajida Rishawi, an Iraqi national, was executed.
Rishawi, 44, was convicted by the State Security Court in September 2006 of plotting terror attacks against three hotels in Amman in November 2005, which left 60 people dead and around 90 injured.
The first woman to receive the death sentence in a terror-related trial in Jordan, Rishawi was convicted of possessing explosives with illicit intent and plotting subversive acts that led to the deaths of individuals.
SIGI President Inam Asha also said during the event that people who are on death row in Jordan "suffer tremendously" because the application of the death sentence is "slow".
“The individuals on death row suffer greatly because they do not have any idea when they will be put to death, so any time their cell door opens they feel that it is time, but then it is not… they die every day,” Asha said.
“The coalition was established by SIGI to call for an end to the death penalty and we hope the government will look for alternatives such as life in prison.”

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