World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Jordan: Deliver on Promises to Respect Free Expression

Arrests, Security Trials for Peaceful Criticism
January 28, 2014

(Amman) – Jordanian lawmakers should undertake critical reforms in 2014 to remove or amend laws that place impermissible limits on free expression, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2014.

Jordanian officials prosecuted people during 2013 on such vaguely worded charges as “insulting an official body,” “undermining the political regime,” and “disturbing relations with a foreign state,” to stifle peaceful expression. Authorities failed to bring the 1960 penal code into compliance with constitutional free speech guarantees strengthened by 2011 constitutional amendments.

“It’s shameful that Jordanian prosecutors can still imprison people who simply chant a slogan at a protest or voice an opinion about a leader,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Constitutional guarantees are just ink on paper if the authorities don’t get rid of penal code articles that undermine them.”

In the 667-page world report, its 24th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. Syria’s widespread killings of civilians elicited horror but few steps by world leaders to stop it, Human Rights Watch said. A reinvigorated doctrine of “responsibility to protect” seems to have prevented some mass atrocities in Africa. Majorities in power in Egypt and other countries have suppressed dissent and minority rights. And Edward Snowden’s revelations about US surveillance programs reverberated around the globe.

In September, prosecutors charged the publisher and the editor of the Jafra News website with “disturbing relations with a foreign state” after the site posted a third-party YouTube video that authorities deemed insulting to the brother of Qatar’s ruler. Authorities held them until December 31, when an appeals court ordered their release on bail and transferred their case from the State Security Court to the Amman Court of First Instance.

The State Security Court in May exonerated five students at Al al-Bayt University in the northern city of Mafraq of “inciting sectarian or racist strife,” but on January 20 a regular court convicted four of them for “insulting a religious symbol” and sentenced them to one month in prison. Prosecutors alleged that their style of dress and musical tastes indicated that they were “devil worshippers.”

The director of the Press and Publications Department on June 2 ordered the blocking of more than 260 news websites that had refused to register, as required under a 2012 amendment to the press law. Some registered in November after losing a lawsuit to overturn the order.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour announced in September that the government planned to amend the State Security Court law to end trials of civilians before the court except on charges of terrorism, espionage, treason, money counterfeiting, and drugs. Yet the penal code’s overbroad definition of terrorism includes such vaguely worded offenses as “undermining the political regime.” Dozens of protesters face terrorism-related charges before the State Security Court merely for chanting slogans or carrying signs at protests critical of the king and other officials.

In breach of international law, officials denied entry to certain groups of people fleeing Syria’s conflict, including Palestinian and Iraqi refugees residing in Syria, single males of fighting age, and people without documents.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ebola Cases Reaching Record Low

Highly contaminated waste is removed from an Ebola Treatment Unit and carried with caution to a disposal area, where it will be fed into an incinerator that burns it into ashes. Photo: WHO/R. Sørensen More>>

South Sudan: Pervasive Violence Against Healthcare

Juba, South Sudan, July 1, 2014 - Violence in hospitals and the destruction of medical facilities are denying medical services to many of South Sudan 's most vulnerable people, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today in a report, South Sudan Conflict: ... More>>

ALSO:

  • UN News - UNESCO chief denounces killing of journalists in South Sudan
  • Increasing Demand For Refined Products Will Increase Prices

    In last week's article I posted a chart from the International Energy Agency'srecent Oil Market Report that shows global demand for refined products catching up to supply by the 3rd quarter of this year. My opinion is that all of the analysts who are now ... More>>

    ALSO:

    Terrorist Attack On Hotel In Libyan Capital

    27 January 2015 – The United Nations Security Council today condemned in the strongest terms the deadly terrorist attack against the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Libya, and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators, financiers and sponsors of such ... More>>

    ALSO:

    Malawi In Urgent Need After Intense Flooding

    Torrential rains in Malawi have caused dozens of deaths, with hundreds of people still missing. Photo: UNDP/Arjan van de Merwe More>>

    Lack Of Funding Hampering Aid To Syria

    Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang briefs the Security Council on the situation in Syria. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe More>>

    Spy Agency CSE Is Monitoring Our Private Online Activities

    Breaking - Spy agency CSE is monitoring our private online activities on a massive scale and sharing sensitive data with other governments More>>

    UN ‘blue Helmet’ Killed Near Lebanon-Israel Cross-Fire

    28 January 2015 – A United Nations peacekeeper with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon ( UNIFIL ) was killed today near the border with Israel but the precise cause of death is as yet undetermined and remains the subject of investigation, according ... More>>

    ALSO:


    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news