Israeli Arab Man Jailed by Jordan for Possessing Painkillers Issued Legally in Israel

Jordanian authorities have been shown Kamal Abu Latayaf's prescription for the painkiller Tramadex, even a version translated into Arabic, but the issue has reached the Foreign Ministry while he remains in prison.

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The Yitzhak Rabin/Araba border crossing between Israel and Jordan
A border crossing between Israel and Jordan.Credit: NYC2TLV

A 60-year-old Israeli-Arab man has been held by Jordanian authorities for two weeks, after being detained at the border crossing carrying painkillers but no prescription, according to his family.

On March 15, Kamal Abu Latayaf, from the predominantly Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel, arrived at the Jordan River border crossing in northern Israel. He was found with 19 Tramadex pills, which are approved for use in Israel, and said he had a valid prescription but was not carrying it with him.

Kamal's brother, Zaki, told Haaretz that a day after the arrest, Zaki traveled to Jordan to show the authorities the prescription, but to no avail.

"They treat this medicine like a drug, and he didn't have the prescription," said Zaki.

"After a few days, I returned to Jordan with a different prescription, with a translation in Arabic, but they didn't believe this either. Today [Monday] I went to a notary, I translated the document and he signed it, and I'm going to Jerusalem so that the Foreign Ministry can sign it and then I'm traveling to Jordan with the new document," he added. 

According to Zaki, his brother has been using the pills since 2004 to ease back and leg pain.

The Abu Latayaf family showed Haaretz the list of medication given to Kamal over the past three months. The Tramadex pills were prescribed to him three times: 40 pills on February 19; 60 pills on January 29; and an identical number on December 26. 

Tramadex belongs to a group of opioid painkillers that are not narcotics. Tramadex is the market name of Tramadol. According to the World Health Organization, Tramadol in Jordan has been under national control since 2014. 

The Foreign Ministry said Abu Latayaf's arrest was known and that the Israeli Embassy in Jordan was handling the matter.

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