Jordan’s former spy chief, once one of the country’s most feared officials, was sentenced on Sunday to 13 years in prison on graft charges in the first high-profile case from an anti-corruption crackdown driven by popular protests.
An Amman court found retired General Mohammad al-Dahabi, who ran the country’s intelligence services from 2005 to 2009, guilty of money laundering, embezzlement and abuse of power, and ordered him to return $30 million.
Dahabi’s arrest last February and his trial a few months later were the most dramatic steps in an anti-graft campaign that has since widened to include the indictment of several leading businessmen.
The campaign is seen as a response to Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations calling for greater political freedoms and an end to corruption.
The civilian trial is unprecedented in a country where few senior officials have been tried or jailed. Most such trials have been held in military or special courts that bypass the judiciary and are criticised as unconstitutional by rights activists.
Dahabi denied the charges. His supporters had said a conviction would prove he was being set up as a political scapegoat and that he was a pawn in a power struggle.