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Jordan: Calls for death penalty intensify after gruesome attack on boy

The 16-year-old Jordanian victim (L) and the attackers (R)[MousaAlomar/Twitter]
The 16-year-old Jordanian victim (L) and the attackers (R)[MousaAlomar/Twitter]

Calls are intensifying in Jordan for the gang members who kidnapped a 16-year-old boy, hacked off his hands and gouged out one of his eyes to face the death penalty. Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh promised yesterday that decisive action would be taken against those who perpetrated the attack after visiting the victim in hospital on Wednesday.

Al-Khasawneh said that the crime had "shaken the conscience of the entire Jordanian society." If found guilty, he added, the suspects will receive the severest possible punishment, the National has reported. According to Minister of Media Affairs Ali Al Ayad, the procedure for dealing with the case was discussed in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

King Abdullah II has taken a personal interest in the case, calling on the authorities to take a tough line with the perpetrators. The Jordanian monarch also asked for the victim to be treated at King Hussein Medical Centre in Amman, where he is said to be in a stable, but serious, condition. The 16-year-old has had his forearms amputated and one of his eyes removed, and is expected to undergo further surgery.

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The attack took place in Zarqa city on Tuesday. It is said to have been motivated by the murder of a gang member's uncle by the victim's father, who is serving a prison sentence for the offence. The boy was apparently on his way to buy bread when he was kidnapped by ten gang members and taken to a remote area of the city where the gruesome attack took place.

Six people, including the alleged lead attacker, have so far been arrested over the attack. Furthermore, at least one person has been arrested for filming the incident and distributing the footage online, receiving a one-week jail sentence for doing so. It remains unclear, however, if this person is among the six arrested for involvement in the attack itself.

Local police said that investigations into the incident are ongoing, but that the case will soon be referred to the Public Prosecutor of the State Security Court.

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