Repeat child molester’s prison term extended

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AMMAN - The Criminal Court on Monday increased a 49-year-old repeat child molester’s prison term by one year.

The Criminal Court sentenced the defendant to eight years imprisonment on October 16 after convicting him of molesting his 12-year-old daughter in May 2008.

But the Court of Cassation, which reviewed the case over the past four months, overturned the verdict and asked the Criminal Court to hand the defendant a harsher punishment.

Yesterday, the Criminal Court decided to sentence the defendant to 18 years and eight months in prison, but immediately decided to halve the term "because of the case's circumstances and the fact that the defendant supports a family and deserves a second chance in life, as well as the fact that the molestation act was external".

The court said the girl was heading to a relative’s house with her father, when he decided to buy alcohol, adding that he consumed the alcohol and then molested his daughter before returning home.

The girl told her mother who alerted the authorities, the court said, noting that the defendant was convicted of molesting two of his other daughters and one of his sons almost 10 years ago and spent nine years and four months in prison for his actions.

The tribunal comprised justices Awad Abu Jarad, Mohammad Atoun and Talal Aqrabawi.

The verdicts will automatically be reviewed by the Court of Cassation for the second time within the next 30 days.

Exorcists sentenced

Also on Monday, a second tribunal handed two men a reduced sentence after convicting them of molesting two teenage girls in their home in November 2008.

The court first sentenced Mohammad Z., 70, to seven years imprisonment and Yasser H., 43, to five years and four months in prison for molesting the two girls aged 15 and 13.

But the tribunal reduced both their sentences because the girls' family dropped charges against the defendants.

The court said the family contacted the two men, who were known to be exorcists, and asked them get rid of "evil spirits" in their house.

The two men started performing spells and reading certain verses from the Koran, then molested the two girls in the process, court papers said.

Both verdicts are subject to appeal at a higher court by the defendants and the criminal court attorney general.