AMMAN -- The Criminal Court on Sunday sentenced two brothers to death after convicting them of the premeditated murder of their pregnant sister and her husband's other wife at a farm in Balqa Governorate in November 2014.
The two defendants, aged 22 and 28, were each charged with two counts of premeditated murder for the fatal shooting of their 27-year-old sister, who was three-month pregnant, and the second woman, 50, at a farm in Balqa, 35km northwest of Amman
on November 8.
The two siblings, a shepherd and a restaurant employee, were calm when the presiding judge was reading the verdict details, a senior judicial source said.
But when the brothers heard that they received the death sentence, they addressed the court saying that "they killed their sister to cleanse their family honour", the judicial source told The Jordan Times.
The victims' husband refused to drop charges against the two defendants, and, therefore, the court handed them the maximum punishment, the judicial source explained.
Court documents said the defendant's sister was "engaged in a relationship with a man three months before the incident and became pregnant".
"The case was discovered and the two were married to avoid a scandal and resided in a farm some 20 kilometers away from where the defendants lived," according to court transcripts.
Nevertheless, the court maintained, "the defendants were not pleased by the outcome and plotted to murder their sister to cleanse the family's honour".
On the day of the murder, the court stated, the two victims were in the backyard of their home picking olives when the two defendants "showed up from behind the trees and started shooting at their pregnant sister".
"The two defendants stated that they only intended to kill their sister and that the second woman was accidentally struck by bullets and died," the court added.
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The two men fled the scene and were later arrested by the authorities, the court documents said.
The defendants' sibling received six bullets to different parts of her body while the woman who was with her was struck and killed by a bullet that hit her back, according to court documents.
The court rejected the defendants' claims that they "murdered their sister to claim family honour and that the fact that she lived close to them was provocative".
"The court rejected such claims because the victim got married as stipulated in the Sharia [Islamic Law] and her residence was almost 20 kilometres from where the defendant lived. So there is no justification to their heinous murder," the judicial source said.
Criminal Court Prosecutor Ahmad Kanani had asked the court to hand the two defendants the maximum punishment.
Sunday's death sentences that were handed by judges Majid Rafayeh, Anwar Abu Eid and Nawaf Samarat will automatically be reviewed by the Court of Cassation within the next 30 days.
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