The Kingdom of Jordan hanged 11 men on Sunday morning, bringing an eight-year pause on capital punishment to an end. As The New York Times reports:
The men had been convicted of murder charges from 2002 to 2004, according to a statement released by the Interior Ministry. […]
Last month, the interior minister, Hussein Majali, announced that a committee had been formed to examine whether to reinstate the death penalty. Mr. Majali said members of the public believed that a rise in crime was related to the absence of executions.
The number of felonies and other crimes in the country increased to 33,800 last year from 24,700 in 2009, according to Jordan’s Department of Statistics, but the kingdom is generally seen as one of the safest in the region.
Though the Kingdom’s interior minister has attributed the rise in crime to the suspension of the death penalty, it’s hard not see the decision to reinstate it as also related to Amman’s wider political problems.
Prior to the Syrian Civil War, about half of Jordan’s population were Palestinian refugees; hundreds of thousands of Syrians have since joined them, further straining the country’s resources and adding to its unrest. Moreover, Jordan shares borders with both Syria and Iraq; worried that ISIS’ victories next door will inspire jihadists inside Jordan, the government has started cracking down on extremist activity and rhetoric.
In other words, Amman may see the value in making a show of force right now.