Israeli Sentenced in Jordan to Four Months in Prison for Drug Possession

35-year-old man illegally crossed into Jordan and wrongly claimed that having a small amount of marijuana was legal in Israel

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A Jordanian flag flies in the area of ​​Baqoura near the Israeli-Jordanian, November 13, 2019.
A Jordanian flag flies in the area of ​​Baqoura near the Israeli-Jordanian, November 13, 2019.Credit: Raad Adayleh/AP

A Jordanian court sentenced an Israeli man on Monday to four months in prison and fined him $1,450 for illegally crossing into the country and possessing drugs, the state-run Petra news agency reported.

Konstantin Kotov, 35, crossed into Jordanian territory on October 29. He pleaded guilty to crossing the border into Jordan illegally but pleaded not guilty to the drug possession charge, saying it was meant for personal use. Kotov did not say why he traveled to Jordan and wrongly claimed that having a small amount of marijuana was legal in Israel.

Kotov will finish serving his sentence in late February, but can be released as early as late January for good behavior.

Kotov claimed that he crossed into Jordan to seek asylum from the Russian Embassy in Amman, According to Jordanian reports.  

Israeli law doesn't allow any possession of marijuana, though amounts smaller than 15 grams are considered to be for personal use and carry a lesser charge.

The Jordanian state security judge rejected Kotov's argument, saying he had violated Jordanian law.

Kotov was arrested during negotiations held between Jordan and Israel to release two Palestinians with Jordanian citizenship detained in Israel on suspicion of security offenses.    

Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty 25 years ago, but relations have cooled in recent years over the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, where Jordan has custodianship over Muslim holy sites.

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