Jordan should stop crackdown on pro-Gaza protesters: Amnesty

Jordan should stop crackdown on pro-Gaza protesters: Amnesty
Jordanian authorities have imprisoned dozens of activists for peacefully protesting over Israel’s war on Gaza and their government policies.
3 min read
12 April, 2024
Jordanian authorities have clamped down on pro-Gaza protesters [Getty]

Amnesty International has denounced Jordanian authorities for their crackdown on pro-Gaza protesters in recent months.

The rights group called on authorities to immediately halt the arrest of dozens of peaceful activists, who have been illegally detained for their peaceful criticism of the government’s policies towards Israel and the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

Jordanian authorities have arrested at least 1,500 people since the start of the war on 7 October, according to the organisation.

This includes around 500 people who were detained since last month alone, following a large protest outside the Israeli embassy in Amman.

Lawyers who spoke to Amnesty said authorities have imposed new restrictions on protests, including prohibiting holding the Palestinian flag and banners with certain slogans.

Children under the age of 18 have been banned from taking part in the protests, which are not permitted to continue past midnight.

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Reina Wehbi, Amnesty International’s campaigner on Jordan, demanded the release of those detained.

"The government must ensure that protesters and activists have the freedom to peacefully criticise the government’s policies towards Israel without being attacked by security forces or violently arrested," she said in a statement.

Many of those arrested in recent months remain in detention and are pending trial.

Others have been held in illegal administrative detention, following orders from the Governor of Amman.

Jordan’s restrictions have transcended protests on the streets, with people also being charged under the country’s Cybercrime Law for expressing pro-Palestine sentiments on social media.

People can be arrested for criticising Amman's peace deal with Israel, rallying others for protests, or organising public strikes.

"Those unlawfully detained should be celebrating the Eid holidays with their families rather than behind bars," Wehbi said, claiming that the authorities have displayed a flagrant violation of the right to fair trials.

The law, which has previously come under sharp condemnation from human rights campaigners for being too vague, criminalises any speech that can be deemed offensive to officials.

Pro-Gaza protests quashed 

Jordan’s Public Security Directorate summoned journalist Khair Eddine Al-Jabri on 25 Match, without giving a reason.

Al-Jabri told Amnesty that neither his family nor lawyer were informed of his whereabouts, and that he was charged with using social media platforms to "defame an official body" and "incite strife, sedition and hatred, threatening societal peace".

He has since been released on bail and placed under a travel ban, pending his trial before a criminal court.

Since Israel’s war on Gaza on 7 October, pro-Palestine protests have broken out across the region.

Egypt has also arrested dozens of protesters after demonstrations erupted in Cairo and Alexandria, in support of Palestinians.

The protesters slammed plans to allegedly displace the Palestinians of Gaza in Egypt's North Sinai province after President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi publicly called on Egyptians to endorse him to confront such Western and Israeli schemes.

Following the mass protests, Egyptian security forces launched a crackdown near the homes of activists and supporters of former anti-regime presidential hopeful Ahmed Tantawi, arresting two prominent campaigners.

Regular protests are also taking place in Lebanon, Yemen, and Turkey, showing their outrage over Israel’s bombardment of the besieged enclave.