His strong belief in the value of his legal work and desire to ensure justice are the reason the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) team member, Samer Hamameh spent his nights sleepless working on helping an adolescent girl avoid three years in a rehabilitation center, a sentence that could have ruined her future.
The 15-year-old was in complicated legal trouble when she was being prosecuted for perjury, a crime punished with 3 years in prison.
The high schooler lives in Al-Russaifeh within a dysfunctional family. One day, she tells her family she was visiting a friend when she was, in reality, planning to meet a guy she was dating and called him using her brother’s phone. She senses he is not in love with her and does not want to marry her leading her to report him for sexually assaulting her.
Al-Russaifeh’s prosecutor referred the case to the Major Crimes Prosecutor in line with their jurisdiction over sexual assault crimes.
The plaintiff retracted her allegations and stated she was not sexually assaulted, she “lied to the Russaifeh prosecutor and cannot keep lying” because she loved him, but he did not reciprocate.
Hamameh says: “the major crimes prosecutor listened to her testimony and retraction and charged her with perjury. She was referred to the juvenile prosecutor and as she missed court sessions, she was sentenced in absentia to three years in a girls’ rehabilitation center.
Luckily, the girl sought the support of the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) and the lawyer appealed the ruling until her sentence was reduced from three years to one.
The lawyer was still unsatisfied and appealed again. He argued that the girl and her family have limited knowledge of the law and that her future was on the line. Eventually, the juvenile court acquitted her.
Explaining how the girl was acquitted, Hamameh says: “the appeal list was based on a legal point in favor of the girl, but the major crimes court and the juvenile court and prosecutor missed it and did not consider it.”
He adds: “the girls should have been acquitted in line with article 215 of the Jordanian penal code “The witness who gave a testimony during a criminal investigation and retracted his/her false statements before the conclusion of the investigation and before a complaint against him/her has been initiated” and “The witness who gave testimony before any court and retracted his/her false testimony before any judgment concerning the subject matter of the case was issued even if such a judgment is not a final one.””
The Court of Appeals ruled that article 215 of the penal code applies to the case as the lawyer argued and must be implemented by acquitting the girl as a final ruling.
In this context, it is important to raise legal awareness among adolescents as they do not realize the seriousness of such crimes or felonies and their associated consequences. Schools and media should play a role in highlighting this and informing them about the effects of such punishable acts.
Based on his 20 years of experience, 6 out of which with ARDD, Hamameh says: “a lawyer must have a firm belief in the value of his work” he adds “it is the legal and humane responsibility for a lawyer to support everyone.”
In conclusion, Hamameh reminds recent lawyers that “law is a humane profession, not just a job. A lawyer must have full faith in their role beyond the financial compensation since it is a humane work that should be done wholeheartedly.”