Prison for ex-Jordanian spy chief

A Jordanian military court sentenced a former high-ranking intelligence official for theft on Thursday.

    Batikhi behind bars until 2011

    Ex-intelligence chief, Samih Batikhi, was ordered to serve a total of eight years by a special military court after a controversial trial for fraud and embezzlement.

    Prosecutor Colonel Muhannad Hijazi proved Batikhi had made a copy of a stamp bearing the General Intelligence Department’s seal and given it to another person, who used it to secure loans from banks.
      
    Serious punishment

    The retired general received three years for fraud, another three for forging official stamps and two years for abuse of office.

    Batikhi was ordered to pay back the $24 million dollars he was found guilty of stealing. His funds and those of his family are also to remain frozen.
      
    Additional penalties included a further $15,660 in fines and the confiscation of a crystal ornament from his home. 
      
    The verdict, which was harsher than predicted by judicial sources, cannot be appealed.

    However, the final say remains with Jordan's current intelligence chief, General Saad Khayr.

    Ongoing case

    Batikhi's former deputy, Zuhair Zannuneh, was cleared of charges of fraud and abuse of office and declared innocent by the presiding judge, Samih Asfurah.
      

    The scandal is not over yet. King Abdullah II has frozen the assets of more that 150 companies and individuals in continuing investigations.

    More than 50 people have been questioned and 13 more officials are expected to stand trial in the coming months.

    Batikhi was highly respected when serving as the GID chief from 1996 to 2000 by the government, personally credited with foiling the so-called ‘millennium plot’ to attack hotels and tourist sites frequented by Americans and Israelis.

    SOURCE: AFP


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