Jordan jails man for stabbing elderly German tourist

A military tribunal on Sunday sentenced a Jordanian man to 15 years in prison for stabbing and wounding a 63-year-old German tourist in Amman last year, a judicial official said.

Jordan jails man for stabbing elderly German tourist
Photo: DPA

“The state security court sentenced Mohammed Barham, 35, to 15 years in jail with hard labour because of the gravity of his act that could have led to the death of an innocent person,” the official told AFP.

“Barham’s act has negatively affected tourism in Jordan and harmed its reputation.”

The verdict can be appealed within 30 days.

Barham was charged with carrying out an act of terror, even though on the day of the stabbing on March 13, 2008 Interior Minister Eid Fayez insisted there was no political dimension to the crime.

Jordan is considered as one of the most stable countries in the violence-wracked Middle East and has endeavored to promote itself as a key tourist destination.

But in September 2006, a Jordanian blacksmith opened fire on a group of Western holidaymakers, killing a Briton and wounding five other tourists at a Roman amphitheatre that is one of Amman’s main attractions.

In December of the same year, a Dutch tourist was shot and slightly wounded by armed robbers in northern Jordan.

In November 2005, three suicide bombings in Amman hotels claimed by the Iraq branch of Al-Qaeda killed 60 people.

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EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example.