Jordan arrests 200 in protests over hospital deaths

Jordan arrests 200 in protests over hospital deaths
A defence lawyer has raised concerns over the administrative detention of protesters.
2 min read
22 March, 2021
Protests have been fuelled by allegations of medical negligence [Getty]
Jordanian authorities have detained more than 200 people after protests broke out calling for accountability over the deaths of nine people due to a hospital oxygen shortage.

The deaths in the Covid-19 ward of a government hospital in As-Salt were met with accusations of medical negligence, provoking nationwide anger

Protesters took to the streets in defiance of a night-time curfew calling for an end to draconian restrictions introduced during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 200 have been arrested since the protests began earlier this month, Arabi21 reported.

Supporters have raised concerns that the detainees - who include lawyers, students and labourers - face rights violations by Jordanian authorities.

Legal requests for the support of detainees who suffer from chronic medical conditions have gone ignored, lawyer Alaa al-Hayari told Arabi21.

The protesters cannot be detained for more than 30 days without charge, the lawyer said.

There are concerns that the detainees could be transferred to the authority of the governor who has the power to rearrest suspects or extend administrative detention arbitrarily, Hayari explained.

The lawyer cited the case of 12 protesters who were released by judicial authorities in Madaba but later rearrested by the governorate.

Hayari says those administrative detention powers constitute an encroachment on judicial independence and protesters' right to free speech.

The high number of arrests may be an attempt to dissuade Jordanians from partaking in a protest to mark the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring in Jordan, the lawyer added.

Wednesday marks the date when thousands of demonstrators set up a protest camp in the capital Amman in 2011, calling for the prime minister's resignation, the dissolution of parliament and wide-ranging reforms to the political system.

The camp was violently dispersed by pro-government supporters and security forces.

Speaking to Arabi21, parliamentary deputy Dirar al-Harasis dismissed the lawyer's claims of any link between the arrests and 24 March.

More than 50 members of parliament have signed a letter calling on Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh to facilitate the release of the detained protesters, Harrasis said.

"Administrative detention is unacceptable in any form, as it constitutes an abuse of the decisions of judicial authorities," Harassis added.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected