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Jordan: Man released early from prison to contain Coronavirus spread, dies immediately by a celebratory gunshot fired by cousin celebrating his release

Sari Salem Wardat, a resident of Jordan, was serving an eight-month prison sentence for carrying an unlicensed weapon and resisting arrest

A prison inmate in Jordon, Sari Salem Wardat, returning home after being released from jail early due to the coronavirus scare, died immediately by a celebratory gunshot fired mistakenly by his distant cousin, exulting his release. Sari was returning home after he was released from the prison two weeks in advance in line with the government’s order to release some prisoners early amidst the Coronavirus threat.

The incident

In the video, which is being circulated on social media, Sari Salem Wardat, a drug dealer and a smuggler serving an eight-month prison sentence for carrying an unlicensed weapon and resisting arrest is seen arriving in his blue car amidst celebratory gunfire noises. Sari gets down from the car and is approached by his distant cousin, Ahmad Salamah Wardat, who points his gun towards the sky. The weapon appears to jam twice before Ahmad fires a shot, after which it appears to jam again before he fires six shots into the air. Then, as the two men walk along the road, Ahmad who appears to be fiddling with the gun, fires one more shot pointing towards Sari, perhaps mistakenly or thinking that he has exhausted the bullets, and this time the bullet hits Sari, who immediately drops to the ground.

According to reports, the incident took place in the town of Amrawah, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of the capital, Amman, close to the country’s border with Syria. Sari was released two weeks early in line with special government measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in Jordan. The crowd of family members and neighbours had gathered to welcome the smuggler on the day he was released from prison and unfortunately the very same day of his release, the criminal met with an unfortunate end.

A repeat offender

The shooter Ahmad is a member of Jordanian Armed Forces, and according to his relatives, similar accidents have happened before when he had fired celebratory gunshot on other occasions. The family members talked about a separate occasion several years ago when he fired a pump-action pellet shotgun during a wedding, wounding six people.

Relatives who witnessed the shooting said he was using a seven-millimetre modified gun that frequently jammed. They said that Ahmad “was not very bright”. The relatives said the Ahmad said he thought he had fired all of his bullets not knowing that the last bullet had jammed in the magazine, which ultimately killed Sari.

Shooter forgiven by victim’s family to prevent revenge killing

Immediately after the unfortunate incident, the family members met and struck an “Atwa”, an Islamic peace agreement, to prevent a potential “revenge killing” against the family of the shooter.

“Immediately after the shooting, Awad, Sari’s brother, stood among the gathered crowd and said he forgave the shooter and his family for his brother’s blood,” a distant relative of the family told Al Jazeera. “This was done in the interests of peace between the different branches of the clan especially during this time,” the person said.

A member of the parliament for the area also intervened to formalilse the agreement between the familise of the victim and the shooter, so that any potential dispute can be prevented.

Ahmad Salamah Wardat has been detained by the police and it is likely that he will face murder charges.

The coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have reached Jordan in March 2020. Jordan has reported a total of 774 cases and 7 deaths until now. Jordan is also amongst the countries that India has sent consignments of HCQ to.

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