#Freedom4EmadHajjaj: Global activists plan 'Twitter storm' demanding release of popular Jordanian cartoonist

#Freedom4EmadHajjaj: Global activists plan 'Twitter storm' demanding release of popular Jordanian cartoonist
2 min read
29 August, 2020
The hashtag #Freedom4EmadHajjaj will be used in the pressure campaign, which starts at 20:00 local time in Amman.
Hajjaj faces five years if found guilty [Twitter]
Jordanian activists and their allies across the world are set to launch a "Twitter storm" on Saturday, demanding the immidate release of a top cartoonist jailed for publishing a drawing considered offensive to the UAE.

The hashtag #Freedom4EmadHajjaj will be used in the pressure campaign, Tahgreed Rishaq, a Washington-based reporter for Jordan’s Al-Ghad newspaper wrote on Twitter.

It will begin at 13:00 EST, corresponding to 20:00 local time in Amman, and it will also appear on Facebook, where Emad Hajjaj originally posted his cartoon.

On Thursday, Amman’s general prosecutor charged the cartoonist with "carrying out acts and publishing material aimed at undermining relations with a friendly country", a judicial source said.

He was then referred to the state security court, who have kept Hajjaj in detention for 14 pending investigation. He faces five years if found guilty.

On Friday, Human Rights Watch lead calls on Jordan's authorities to release Hajjaj.

"Calling a satirical cartoon a terrorism offence only confirms that Jordan intends to muzzle citizens who speak freely," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the New York-based watchdog.

"This arrest sends the message that Jordanian authorities would rather abuse the rights of their own citizens than risk offending a gulf leader's feelings," he added.

Read also: Jordanians launch solidarity campaign with Prince Ali and cartoonist Emad Hajjaj over UAE criticism

The apparently "offensive" cartoon published by Hajjaj to his Facebook page is entitled "Israel asks America not to sell F-35 planes to the Emirates", showing Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed in Zayed Al-Nahyan carring a dove blazoned with the Israeli flag.

The dove spits on the face of the powerful royal, known as MBZ. The spittle which lands on his cheek is covered with the formulation "Spit-35", written in Arabic.

The sale of the fighter jets to the UAE has dampened the exultant mood surrounding a Washington-brokered deal to normalise ties between the Jewish state and the Gulf country.

Jordan is one of two Arab countries to have a full peace treaty with Israel, and enjoys strong relations with other oil-rich Gulf nations.

Hajjaj's arrests has sparked a wave of condemnation from various rights groups, including from the Committee to Protect Journalists, with all demanding his unconditional release.

Hajjaj, 52, is a popular cartoonist in Jordan and across the Arab world.

His drawings, which have appeared in numerous domestic and pan-Arab publications, focus mainly on political, economic and social issues.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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