Middle East

Jordan: tens of hundreds face jail over unpaid money owed

A report launched on Tuesday raised issues over the rising variety of Jordanians who find yourself in jail annually for not having paid again their loans.

The Human Rights Watch report (HRW) paperwork the robust measures taken towards folks unable to repay their money owed in a rustic that’s more and more dealing with the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and deteriorating financial situations.

In Jordan, defaulting on debt can result in a sentence of as much as 90 days in jail for debt, however serving the jail sentence doesn’t resolve the debt.

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In response to authorities statistics, the variety of folks wished for imprisonment for debt has elevated tenfold in 4 years, reaching greater than 43,000 folks in 2019.

The rights group demanded that authorities urgently exchange legal guidelines that enable folks to be jailed for his or her debt and supply them with help.

“Most international locations have abolished debt imprisonment, not solely as a result of this can be very extreme and violates worldwide human rights legislation, however as a result of it doesn’t result in reimbursement, particularly debt. share of the poor, ”the report says.

“As a substitute, debt imprisonment punishes those that can’t pay and helps create limitless debt cycles.”

Underneath Article 22 of the Jordanian Enforcement Regulation, collectors can request {that a} borrower be imprisoned if he fails to repay his arrears.

Many individuals interviewed by HRW mentioned they took loans to pay for requirements, comparable to utilities, faculty charges, groceries and medical payments.

Because the economic system continues to deteriorate, many Jordanians have resorted to loans and face jail time, particularly as courts routinely convict folks and not using a listening to and the legislation makes no exceptions. for lack of earnings.

As a result of lack of rules and mechanisms to problem debt, many discover themselves behind bars, additional harming households as they’re unable to afford the necessities of every day life.

Operating away from debt

Some have even been compelled to promote their property so as to have the ability to repay their rents.

“The final time I used to be arrested I used to be within the hospital visiting my father as a result of his situation was so unhealthy. They got here to the hospital and arrested me there. Now my dad is useless … my household needed to promote my automobile simply to get me out of jail. After that, I left and got here to Turkey, ”mentioned one of many folks interviewed by HRW.

In one other case documented by HRW, a Jordanian who now resides in Egypt mentioned he was unable to discover a job after going into debt.

“I graduated from faculty with a level in finance, however which financial institution would take me? What fault is it? I would not be employed for one thing like this. I used to be speculated to have a job, get married and have a household, and there’s nothing I can do, ”he mentioned.

“They got here to the hospital and arrested me there. Now my dad is useless … my household needed to promote my automobile simply to get me out of jail ‘

– Jordanian man

As a result of harsh measures towards the debtors, many individuals have chosen to flee the nation as a way to keep away from imprisonment and the stigma that surrounds it.

Human Rights Watch referred to as on judges throughout the nation to discover alternate options by assessing debtors’ capacity to pay and growing reimbursement schedules primarily based on their monetary scenario.

“The legislation ought to clearly distinguish between those that are unable to repay their loans and those that don’t wish to, and deal with those that commit fraud in consequence,” the rights group added.

Protests have erupted throughout Jordan this week as folks voice issues over how the federal government has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. Rising anger comes after seven sufferers died at a hospital within the metropolis of As-Salt on Saturday attributable to lack of oxygen.

Jordan already knew a peak unemployment earlier than the pandemic, which solely made situations worse.

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