Israel hands lawmaker held in gun-running case over to Jordan


Jerusalem (Reuters) – Israel on Sunday handed over to Jordan a member of the Jordanian parliament who had been held on suspicion of trying to smuggle weapons into the occupied West Bank.

Imad al Adwan, who was arrested on April 22 at an Israeli-controlled border crossing, was transferred to Jordan where the investigation and legal process will continue, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency said.

The Jordanian speaker of parliament said Adwan’s parliamentary immunity has been revoked, meaning he could face prosecution. A Jordanian security source said the case will be brought to trial.

Shin Bet also provided further details of the case, which had threatened to strain the neighbours’ almost three-decade-old ties that have been often tested by Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and a major Jerusalem mosque.

Adwan, who was allegedly caught with 12 rifles and 194 pistols in his car, had used his diplomatic passport to smuggle items before, including weapons, animals, electronic cigarettes and gold, the agency said.

Its investigation, Shin Bet said, determined that Adwan was smuggling for money and “indeed received large sums of money”.

A lawyer for Adwan in Israel said he could not comment on the charges, and confirmed he was no longer in custody in Israel.

Shin Bet said a number of suspects in Jordan have also been arrested by Jordanian authorities over their alleged involvement.

Israel enjoys close security ties with Jordan, the Arab neighbour with which it shares its longest stretch of border, but political relations have soured in recent years. Many of the kingdom’s citizens are of Palestinian origin.

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