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Israeli court extends detention of Jordanian lawmaker

The decision of the Israeli court to extend the detention of Jordanian parliamentarian Imad al-Adwan could signal that the affair could take time to be resolved.
An Israeli security officer mans the control booth at the crossing point to Jordan (background), in the city of Jericho in the occupied West Bank, on January 28, 2021. - The Allenby (King Hussein) bridge crossing is due to be closed in the evening as part of restrictions to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel's military court ruled on Sunday to extend the detention of Jordanian parliament member Imad al-Adwan, who was arrested a week prior on suspicion of smuggling weapons into the West Bank.

The news was announced by Adwan’s lawyer, Jawad Boulos, who added that Israeli authorities are preventing him from meeting with his client.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced on April 23 that Adwan was arrested at the Allenby Bridge crossing point. Israeli authorities issued a gag order on the affair, and the Israeli Foreign Ministry has declined to comment on the matter. The only comment made by Israel was a short statement by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who told Ynet news that details of the affair were still being clarified. 

"There was intelligence on possible smuggling into Israel," said Cohen, adding that he did not blame the Jordanian government for the affair. Nevertheless, the minister stressed that the incident was serious. Ynet reported that Adwan has been questioned by the Shin Bet.

A day after his detention, authorities authorized Jordanian Ambassador to Israel Ghassan Majali and the Jordanian consul in Tel Aviv to visit Adwan. A statement issued on Tuesday by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s office said that Adwan is in good health and has not been subjected to physical or psychological abuse. The statement further said that Majali had spoken in detail with Adwan about the circumstances of his arrest and the interrogation he went through, making sure that the conditions of Adwan’s detention respected both his legal and human rights.

Jordanian authorities have been careful not to blame Israel for an unjustified arrest. Nevertheless, his detention sparked anger among the Jordanian public and lawmakers in Amman. A rally in support of Adwan took place last Wednesday. The heads of the tribe to which he belongs have called on Jordan’s King Abdullah to intervene vis-a-vis Israel and take action to secure his release. Hundreds of people gathered again in Jordan on Sunday, demanding that the king secure Adwan’s release. 

Adwan's brother, Amer Zaidan al-Adwan, issued a statement thanking the Jordanian monarch, the parliament and the government in Amman for their efforts to release the detained lawmaker, saying the family trusts all of these bodies are doing their utmost in this affair.

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, currently on a visit to Israel, commented on the affair. Asked by Israel Hayom newspaper about the arrest, McCarthy said, "That's appalling and the king does not support that (Israeli allegations against Adwan)." McCarthy said he believed the two countries must build even stronger relations, and "that is important with your allies, with your neighbors and others." Asked if he discussed the issue with Jordanian authorities, he said, "We raised it with the individuals there."

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