150,000 wanted for civil debts — justice minister

(Photo: Freepik)
AMMAN — According to Minister of Justice Ahmed Al-Ziyadat, by May 1, some 150,000 people were wanted for civil debts, Al-Mamlaka TV reported on Tuesday.اضافة اعلان

Ziyadat told a press conference that about 41,000 people are wanted because of a debt of less than JD1,000, constituting 27 percent of those wanted for debt, while 26,000 people have debts ranging between JD1,000 and JD2,000, or 17 percent of those wanted.

The minister said that 82,000 people owe debts lower than the JD5,000, which is the maximum amount one may owe without going to jail, as stipulated by the Enforcement Law.

Ziyadat said that this figure alone “indicates the enormity of the problem and the complexity of the debtor imprisoning phenomenon”.

“The most important provisions regarding debtors’ imprisonment in the period preceding 2002 can be summarized as follows: first, the maximum prison term for a debtor in one year was 91 days, irrespective of the number of debts and creditors; second, a debtor could not be jailed twice for the same debt if he/she had been imprisoned for four months for that debt,” said the minister.

He added that “it was possible for the debtor to avoid imprisonment by reaching a settlement that is sanctioned by a judge, a situation that continued until 2002 when a temporary law was issued, the Enforcement Law No. 36, which became permanent in 2007”.

According to the minister, the 2007 law provisions related to debtors’ imprisonment stipulated that “imprisonment for one debt per year would be for up to 90 days. In theory, a debtor could be imprisoned for 10 or 20 years if he had 20 promissory notes”.

At the same time, “it was possible to jail the debtor again for the same debt,” added the minister.

The strict provisions of the 2002 law led to an increase in the number of debtor imprisonment cases “until it became a phenomenon that needs to be tackled”, Ziyadat said, adding that there are “compelling reasons to amend the Enforcement Law”, in a manner that is fair to both creditor and debtor, and puts an stops debtor imprisonment.

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