JAPAN RELATIONS CONSIDERED

Jordan king to pardon journalist

Kyodo

Jordan’s king is prepared to pardon a Japanese photojournalist arrested over a deadly explosion May 1 at Amman airport, a source close to the royal family said Monday.

King Abdullah II apparently considers the incident involving Hiroki Gomi of the daily Mainichi Shimbun an “accident.” He decided to pardon Gomi, once his case has been ruled on, in consideration of relations with Japan, the source told Kyodo News.

According to Jordanian laws, even if Gomi, 36, were to be given a prison term, he would be able to convert the sentence to a fine if the victim’s family asks for a lesser punishment and the term behind bars is reduced to three months or less.

In the event that the king grants a special pardon, Gomi would not have to serve any time.

The Jordanian royal family has told the next of kin of a security guard who was killed in the explosion that it will provide them with anything they wish, effectively assuring their future livelihood.

On Saturday, Ali al-Sarhan’s family gave its formal consent for Gomi to be released on bail.

Gomi was on his way back to Japan after covering the war in Iraq when a cluster bomblet in his luggage exploded at Queen Alia International Airport, killing the guard and wounding several others.

Gomi has claimed that he thought the bomblet, which he picked up on a road in Iraq and took with him as a souvenir, was already spent.

He could face charges of illegal possession of explosives, intentional homicide and damage to property — which could result in imprisonment of up to 15 years. But Jordanian prosecutors are considering a lesser indictment, such as a simple homicide charge calling for six months to three years in prison.

Harassers held

GIFU (Kyodo) Police have arrested a radical political activist and a newspaper delivery agent for allegedly harassing the Mainichi Shimbun’s business in Gifu Prefecture.

The two, who were arrested Monday, were identified as Ichinari Nagae, 51, a member of a radical Nagoya-based political group calling itself Nyukon-juku, and delivery agent Toshiyuki Watanabe, 26, who lives in Nagoya.