Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jordan: Pro-reformists detained for “insulting” the King must be released

Amnesty International
3 April 2012

"A law which allows the Jordanian authorities to detain activists on the basis of “insulting the king” must be repealed, Amnesty International said after 30 to 40 apparently peaceful protesters were detained in Amman.

At least 13 people remain in custody in the wake of the weekend protests against the detention of half a dozen pro-reform activists.

Four activists have been held for nearly a month and are now facing charges of ‘insulting’ the king amid a growing crackdown on freedom of expression.

The protestors are understood to have been arrested when they called for the downfall of the government. Some 40 to 50 officers of the Gendarmerie allegedly beat and kicked them before loading them into a police van.

According to a lawyer who visited them, they were also beaten after arrest, as a result of which, one suffered a broken arm. The lawyer’s request to the State Security Prosecutor that they be referred to a hospital for examination was apparently refused.

"Jordan continues to use a draconian law which effectively criminalizes political dissent as a way to silence political opponents and government critics,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

The detainees apparently face additional charges relating to threatening the stability of the government, illegal assembly, inciting unrest. They face trial before the State Security Court (SSC), a special court which fails to meet international fair trial standards.

"So far as we know, these individuals have not advocated violence or gone beyond the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression and therefore the authorities are effectively violating rights which they have an obligation to protect under international law standards."....."

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