Victim’s family OKs bail for journalist

Kyodo

The family of an airport security guard who was killed when a cluster bomblet exploded at an Amman airport early this month officially consented Saturday to the release on bail of the Japanese photojournalist who was carrying the bomblet.

Now that the family of Ali al-Sarhan has signed a related petition, the Mainichi Shimbun journalist, 36-year-old Hiroki Gomi, is expected to be released on bail soon.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II also expects Gomi’s release to come soon.

The petition was handed to a Jordanian national legislator when he visited the family at their home in an Amman suburb. Jordan’s royal family had requested that the visit be made.

The victim’s older brother, Abdullah, and other relatives agreed to sign the petition, according to sources.

The explosion occurred on May 1, when Gomi was on his way back to Japan after covering the conflict in Iraq. He is facing charges of illegal possession of explosives, accidental homicide and damage to property from the explosion at Queen Alia International Airport. Gomi has reportedly said he took the bomblet from Iraq as a souvenir.

The petition says that the family “forgives” Gomi, that he did not know the device was explosive and that the incident was an “accident,” sources familiar with the case said.

In addition, the family said they will not request anything from Gomi.

Gomi has claimed he thought the device, which he picked up on a road in Iraq, was already spent and would not explode.