Amman – The Amman Court of Appeal ruled a compensation of (20,880) dinars in favor of an Indonesian domestic worker, who was administratively suspended for three and a half years, to decide the court to oblige the Minister of Interior and the Governor of Mafraq, in addition to their job, to compensate the worker financially and morally, indicating in the text of its decision that “the governor’s decision is contrary to the provisions of the law because it exceeded the powers granted to him by law and the consequent stay of the plaintiff in prison for 3 and a half years is a serious error that entails civil liability for the damages caused to the plaintiff as a result of the deprivation of her freedom without legal justification, and that the act of the governor is not considered a legitimate act by using the right, because the error occurred does not fall within the scope of legality.”

The decision, which was issued last month in a case filed for a female worker by the Legal Aid Unit at Tamkeen for legal aid and human rights, is a judicial precedent that will establish a review of the administrative detention file in Jordan in order to limit it, especially in cases where the provisions of the Crime Prevention Law, which administrative rulers usually rely on when issuing administrative detention decisions, are not observed.

Tamkeen had reached this worker through field visits settled by the Tamkeen team to prisons and correction centers, where her file was transferred to the Legal Aid Unit in Tamkeen, which in turn filed a case for the worker.

The court’s decision stated that the court took its decision after approving the experience report, which estimated the worker at 5,880 dinars in material damage, and 15,000 moral damage allowance for what the administrative detention caused her to deprive her of a normal and stable life.

The appeal decision added: “The female worker came to the Kingdom in 2006 to seek a living to work as a domestic worker as an eldest and who was at the age of 21. The worker was fraudulently raped by criminals, and in light of that, a criminal case was filed before the High Criminal Court. which convicted the rapists of the crime of rape, and as a result, the worker was detained under a decision of the Governor of Mafraq and on the recommendation of the Family Protection Department / Mafraq at the Public Security Directorate, from 8/5/2012 “under the pretext of protecting her and she was forgotten and left detained until 7/10/2015.

Article 3 of the Crime Prevention Act No. 7 of 1954 stipulates: “If it is communicated to the district administrator or if he/she has [indications] to lead him to believe that a person within his/her jurisdiction may belong to any of the categories mentioned below, and if the district administrator is of the opinion that there are sufficient reasons to take measures, he/she may issue to the person concerned a notice of appearance in the format included in the first appendix to this law, obliging said person to appear before him/her to explain whether he/she has reasons not to give an undertaking, with or without a guarantee and in the format included in the second appendix to this law, in which he/she undertakes to conduct himself/herself well during a period of time to be specified at the discretion of the district administrator, but not to exceed one year: 1. Anyone present in a public or private place in circumstances that convince the district administrator that he/she was about to commit a crime or to assist in its commission. 2. Anyone who habitually committed burglary or theft or had within his/her possession stolen property, or who habitually protected or sheltered burglars, or who assisted them in concealing stolen property or fencing it. 3. Anyone in a situation in which his/her release without a guarantee would constitute a danger to the people.”

The worker who was sentenced in her favor remained in prison for more than three and a half years without legal justification, as the Court of Appeal relied on the decision of the Court of Cassation in the same lawsuit, which stated: ” When the decision of the Governor of Mafraq was issued the plaintiff was a victim, and she did not achieve any of the characteristics of the types of persons against whom the Governor may take action, which is mentioned exclusively in Article (3) of the Crime Prevention Law, where the plaintiff was not present in a place or circumstances that suggest that she is about to commit any crime or assist in its commission and it has not been proven as well as her habitual or committing any crime, nor has there been evidence that her presence at large without bail is a danger to people, i.e. the plaintiff has not verified any of the cases specified exclusively for the category of persons against whom the governor may take the measures stipulated in the Crime Prevention Law.”

The decision of the Court of Appeal added: “As a result, the governor’s decision is contrary to the provisions of the law because it exceeded the powers granted to him by the law and the consequent stay of the plaintiff in prison for 3 and a half years is a serious mistake that entails civil liability for the damages caused to the plaintiff as a result of the detention of her freedom without legal justification, and that the governor’s act is not considered a legitimate act by using the right, since the error occurred does not fall within the scope of legality.”

Via the Legal Aid Unit at “Tamkeen” for Legal Aid and Human Rights, filed a human rights reconciliation lawsuit with the Amman Magistrate Court against the parties that somehow caused her detention, demanding compensation for the damages she suffered as a result of her detention for a period exceeding three and a half years without right, and then the lawsuit was transferred to the Amman Court of First Instance after being referred on 3/11/2020 because the value of compensation exceeds 10,000 dinars, which makes the jurisdiction to consider the case to the Amman Court of First Instance.

Tamkeen’s Executive Director, Linda Al-Kalash, welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision, and stressed the need to stop implementing the Crime Prevention Law, and limit arrests to the judicial authority only, stressing that the Court of Appeal’s ruling to compensate the worker will establish other decisions of this kind, as”Tamkeen” considers this case and the ruling issued by it a strategic issue that will reconsider the file of administrative detention in Jordan, and will shed light again on the Crime Prevention Law and how to apply it on the ground, in addition to the large financial costs to the state treasury due to the detention of large numbers in prisons and correctional centers.

Kalash said: “Administrative detention is a violation of the right to personal freedom, in light of the continuation of the executive authority through administrative rulers and their decisions to exercise broad authority in administrative detention, despite the fact that the Jordanian Constitution stipulates that personal freedom is inviolable, and that every attack on public rights and freedoms is a crime punishable by law, as international conventions guarantee freedom and safety and not to arrest anyone arbitrarily, as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stipulates that everyone has the right to liberty and security of person and no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention and no one may be deprived of his liberty except for reasons provided for by law, and any person who is arrested must be informed of the reasons for such arrest when it occurs, and he must be informed promptly of any charge against him, and that anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.”

Previous press statements by the Minister of Interior indicate that the Rehabilitation and Correction Centers Department received until the end of 2023 approximately 21,500 inmates, with an occupancy rate of 109%, as the capacity in these centers is about 13,500 inmates, while there are 6,214 judicial detainees in the Rehabilitation and Correction Centers Department, and 1,772 administrators, including about 300 administrative detainees whose case is related to royalties, 800 have been released, and 13,245 correction.

With regard to the economic cost per inmate in correction and rehabilitation centers, we find that it amounts to about 750 dinars per month, approximately 9,000 dinars annually, according to data from the Public Security Directorate, which means that the cost of administrative detention for a detainee for one day is estimated at about (25) dinars.

For example, the cost of 21,000 inmates is about 15.7 million dinars per month, at 189 million dinars annually, yet administrative detentions continue without clear reasons, meaning that an increase in administrative detention cases will necessarily lead to an increase in public spending on prisons.

With regard to the female worker in whose favor the Court of Appeal compensated her for forgetting her three and a half years in prison, Kalash points out that this worker alone, according to the calculations of the Public Security Directorate, her presence costed the treasury state in prison (31,500) dinars. This indicates the large sums incurred by the state as a result of the administrative detention file.

With regard to the administrative detention of migrant workers, Tamkeen carries out visits to correction and rehabilitation centers to interview administratively detained workers, as the number of interviews from 2012 until June 2023 reached (409) interviews.

Interviewing (409) administrative detainees of migrant workers stated that they did not know the reason for their arrest or their right to seek the assistance of a lawyer, and no translation was available when interviewing detainees. As for the treatment of detainees, no inhumane treatment or any type of torture was reported inside places of detention, but some Migrant women reported that they were forced to clean security centers when detained, and the duration of detention ranged from one month

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