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The New Arab

Jordanian MPs say Israeli detained on drugs charges should be used in prisoner swap

An Israeli citizen is currently on trial in Jordan on drug charges [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2019

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A group of Jordanian politicians has called for the government to swap an Israeli citizen detained on drug charges with all nationals imprisoned in Israel.

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Jordan, Israel
Jordanian politicians have called on the government to initiate a prisoner exchange with Israel, swapping an Israeli citizen accused of entering the kingdom illegally for the kingdom's nationals imprisoned in Israel.

An Israeli citizen who was apprehended in October appeared before a state security court this week on charges of illegally entering the kingdom and possessing drugs with the intent of using them, Roya News reported.

The man, identified as Konstanin Kotov, admitted to the charges, which could see him face more than a year in prison.

In a letter shared on Twitter by Jordanian journalist Daoud Kuttab and signed by at least 19 members of parliament, politicians call on Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz to resist attempts by Israel to "pressure" Jordan into releasing Kotov.

The MPs said that Jordan should use Kotov's detention to pressure the Israeli government to release all Jordanian nationals imprisoned in Israel, in addition to repatriating the bodies of any dead Jordanian prisoners.

The move comes amid rising tensions between Israel and the Hashemite kingdom in recent months.

Jordan sparked concern in Israel last week when the kingdom's military staged a large-scale drill designed to counter an invasion from the west.

Although Amman and Israel share diplomatic and trade relations, normalisation is largely controversial in the Jordan, where a majority of the people are of Palestinian descent.

Jordan last month reclaimed two pieces of Jordan Valley land previously leased to Israel for more than two decades.

The return of the farmlands came hot on the heels of Israel releasing two Jordanian nationals who it had detained for months without charge, sparking a diplomatic row between the two neighbouring states.

Abdul Rahman Miri, one of the two Jordanian citizens of Palestinian descent held, later accused Israel of using him and another prisoner as "bargaining chips" to prevent the loss of the two Jordan Valley territories.

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