Deputy Muslim Brotherhood leader sentenced to 18 months

Deputy Muslim Brotherhood leader sentenced to 18 months
Jordanian court sentences Zaki Bani Rusheid to 18 months in prison for accusing the UAE of sponsoring terrorism on social media.
2 min read
15 February, 2015
Bani Rusheid has been sentenced to 18 months in prison [al-Araby al-Jadeed]
The deputy leader of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood was Sunday sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison reduced from three.

Zaki Bani Rusheid was convicted by a Jordanian State Security Court of "acts harmful to the kingdom's relations with a foreign state".

The Islamist leader was arrested on 20 November for posting an article on Facebook accusing the UAE of sponsoring terrorism. His post came after teh Gulf state formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.
     I did not make a mistake that requires an apology.

- Zaki Bani Rusheid

In December, the Jordanian government rejected efforts of senior figures in the Brotherhood to secure Bani Rusheid's release. Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said he refused to interfere in what he said was a purely judicial affair.

On the first day of his trial, which began on 22 December, Bani Rusheid said unspecified parties had offered to release him if he apologised. However, he said he had refused the offer: "I did not make a mistake that requires an apology."

Bani Rusheid's post almost caused a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. The UAE reportedly even put pressure on Jordan to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood at home.

At the time, Ensour also cautioned that the post could "threaten the livelihoods of Jordanian citizens", a reference to expatriates working in the UAE.

After the sentencing, dozens of members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing, the Islamic Action Front, gathered outside the court denouncing the ruling as politicised.

Saleh al-Armouti, who led Banu RUsheid's defence team, said the verdict was an attack on freedom of expression, and condemned the court saying it was unconstitutional and not internationally recognised.