Jordan releases Naharayim massacre perpetrator
Oh yes, and a Freilichen (Happy) Purim to those of you who celebrate the holiday today, which is just about everyone outside Jerusalem and a couple of other cities.
On March 13, 1997, Jordanian Army Cpl. Ahmed Daqamseh opened fire on a group of 7th and 8th grade girls from Beit Shemesh’s Feurst School. The girls were on a class trip to Naharayim in the Jordan Valley, visiting the “Island of Peace,” a joint Israeli-Jordanian tourist resort under Jordanian rule. Seven of the girls were murdered. The massacre would have been worse if Daqamseh's weapons had not jammed. Daqamseh complained that the girls who died were disturbing his prayers.
Daqamseh was sentenced to life in prison, which is a de facto 25-year sentence in Jordan.
Israel had signed a peace treaty with Jordan's King Hussein in 1994. At the time of the massacre, Hussein actually came to Beit Shemesh to visit the mourning families.
His lawyer, Hussein Mjali, praised Daqamseh in a video released in 2009. In 2011, Mjali became Jordan's Justice Minister, and the next week joined a demonstration calling for Daqamseh's release, sparking outrage in Israel.
In 2013, 110 of the 120 members of Jordan's parliament signed a petition calling for Daqamseh's release.
Today, they got their wish. Daqamseh has been released.
Relatives said Ahmad Daqamseh was back at his home in the village of Idivir in northern Jordan.
A Jordanian military spokesman, Amer Sartawi, said Daqamseh was released early Sunday, after serving 20 years in prison.
Daqamseh said a month ago he was very happy and thankful to all his supporters who urged his release. He had been moved to a prison wing with better conditions after spending most of his term in isolation.In 2004, Daqamseh told a Jordanian weekly that he had no regret for his actions.
Jordanian military sources said Daqamseh was released shortly after midnight, on Sunday. Several people gathered at his home to celebrate his freedom.
Family members said Daqamseh was supposed to have been freed on Monday, the 13th, but the authorities decided to release him during the night to try and minimize the celebrations.
In an interview Daqamseh gave in 2004 to Jordanian weekly a-Shahed, he expressed pride in his actions and said that "if I could return to that moment, I'd behave exactly the same way. Every day that passes, I grow stronger in the belief that what I did was my duty."Disgraceful.