Jordan's controversial justice minister has joined protesters demanding the release of a soldier who shot dead seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.In the past, the Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan and president of the Arab Human Rights Organisation called for the release of the despicable murderer of children.
It is an unprecedented move by a Cabinet minister in Jordan, which maintains cordial ties with Israel under a peace treaty signed in 1994.
The minister, Hussein Mjali, was the lawyer for soldier Ahmed Daqamseh, who received a life sentence for killing the Israeli schoolgirls during an outing near Jordan's northwestern border with Israel.
Monday's protest in front of Mjali's office was organized by Daqamseh's family. Mjali joined the crowd, saying he was participating in his capacity as the soldier's former lawyer.
He said he joined the new Cabinet to see changes made, especially to freedom of expression.
The murderer's mother has said
I am proud of my son, and I hold my head high. My son did a heroic deed and has pleased Allah and his own conscience. My son lifts my head and the head of the entire Arab and Islamic nation. I am proud of any Muslim who does what Ahmad did.... [My son] said: The only thing that I am angry about is the gun, which did not work properly. Otherwise I would have killed all of the passengers on the bus."Assabeel quotes the minister Mjali as saying that Daqamseh is a "hero" and saying that he is only in jail because "we are afraid of the Jews."
Al Jazeera quotes him responding to the possibility that this could hurt relations with Israel, saying "if it was a Jew who killed Arabs, they would have built a statue in his honor instead of putting him in prison."
Jordanian newspaper Addustour doesn't mention that he killed schoolgirls. Rather it says that he "killed a number of Zionists in the region of Baqura after they mocked him and the Holy Prophet during his prayers."