REPRESSIVE LAWS SILENCE CRITICAL VOICES
In the latest incident, civilian and military prosecutors opened investigations against Adnan Abu Odeh, a former head of the Royal Court, for allegedly insulting the king and stirring sectarian strife and sedition during an interview aired on Al-Jazeera satellite television on 28 October 2006.
Among the remarks that reportedly led to the charges were Abu Odeh's criticism of the under-representation of Jordanians of Palestinian origin in parliament. He also questioned the way King Abdullah defends the Palestinian cause. The prosecutors dropped the charges on 5 November.
"This apparent tactic of initiating and later dropping charges has a chilling effect on regime critics," says Human Rights Watch. The organisation is calling on the Jordanian government to live up to its stated commitment to reform laws used to silence opposition voices.
Visit these links:
- Human Rights Watch: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/11/07/jordan14529.htm
- Arab Archives Institute 2005 Report on Media in Jordan: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/73058/
- Freedom House 2006 "Freedom of the Press" report:
- Transcript of the Al Jazeera interview with Abu Odeh (in Arabic):