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July 7 2022 10:27 AM ˚
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Experts torn on possible Defense Order 28 extension

A deserted Amman street in line with lockdowns dictated under defense orders. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
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AMMAN — Local experts were divided on the purported government intention to extend the provisions of Defense Order No. 28, with some saying it will help debtors, while others contending it is unfair to creditors.اضافة اعلان

Defense Order No. 28 is related to the imprisonment of debtors. It was supposed to expire at the end of June.

Legal experts interviewed by Jordan News said extending the defense order will help debtors, especially in light of the difficult economic situation. Others, however, said it would be unfair to creditors, who have no other means to recover the amounts owed to them.

President of the Jordan Bar Association Yahya Abu Aboud told Jordan News that Defense Order No. 28 was issued at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

He said that was necessary in view of the health guidelines given at the time to reduce the number of infections and control the spread of the virus.

“But now, it can be said that the pandemic is over it had lost its justification,” he said.

He said that the country has passed the crisis and the pandemic, and all the economic and social conditions have returned to normal, so the defense order must be stopped,.

He said that there are institutions and legislation that enable the country to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic without the defense order.

At the same time, “I can say, from my experience as a lawyer, that during those two years, since the issuance of the defense order, most of the creditors failed to pay their debts,” he said.

In the absence of the defense order, he stressed that “the law restores balance to dysfunctional relations, with balance and fairness for both parties”.

Abu Aboud also said that it is important to conduct a study “to assess the financial and social conditions after the defense order was issued, and the extent of its impact on the overall economy”.

Lawmaker Zainab Al-Bdoul said that she is “in favor of extending the provisions of the defense order due to the difficult economic situation following the COVID-19 pandemic, which left tens of thousands citizens financially distressed.”

If jailed, they “will constitute a burden on the prisons”, she told Jordan News.

At the same time, “international laws prevents imprisonment if a person is unable to pay his contractual obligations”, she said.

“The imprisonment of a debtor exacerbates the problem and does not solve it,” she said. “If a debtor is freed, he is able to work and honor his obligations.”

Member of Parliament Saleh Al-Armouti told Jordan News that “the prime minister is expected to issue an order to extend the defense order concerning debtor imprisonment until the end of this year.

He said the decision would be in view of the fact that there are more than 100,000 creditors and not enough prisons for this huge number, and in light of the difficult economic conditions we live in”.

“Personally, I would like to cancel all defense orders, since the law should be the sole authority, and this power should not pass on to the prime minister,” he said.

Another lawmaker, Dina Al-Bashir, said that “what is more important than extending the defense order regarding debtors is coming up with a clear work strategy to get out of the economic crisis”.

Even if “the extension lasts for some months, for example, this will not solve the root cause of the problem,” she said.

“There is a need for alternative solutions to help creditors and advance the economy in a real and clear way, especially since the creditor has become a debtor, too, due to the current economic conditions,” she explained.

Senator Talal Al-Shorofat told Jordan News that “a recommendation that was issued by the Senate when approving the Implementation Law included extending the provisions of Defense Order No. 28 until the end of the year to address the pressure arising from the economic conditions”.

“I support the extension of the defense order for this purpose, complemented by other strategic plans, not only to solve the problem, but also to develop real solutions that work, to do justice to both the creditor and the debtor,” he added.

“More effective solutions must be developed for this matter, especially since the solutions provided by the implementation law may not be sufficient,” he said.

Advocate Hassan Al-Hattab, the International Committee for Human Rights, Geneva envoy to Jordan, told Jordan News that “the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the economic situation in Jordan and made the situation difficult for merchants and creditors.”

“This decision aims to create an easy and reasonable way that enables the debtors to pay their debts”.

“An extension falls within the public interest and is in accordance with the social and legal foundations by giving the debtor another chance to pay his debts,” he added.

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