Freedom of Speech/Freedom of the Press

Jordanian Regime To Clamp Down Further on Democratic Liberties

by Ibrahim Alloush
October 10, 2001
Amman, Jordan

A report appearing in the most recent issue of the Jordanian weekly, Al Majjd, indicated that the Jordanian government is pondering a full-scale attack on [whatever is left of] democratic liberties in the country very soon.

According to Al Majjd of October 8, 2001, the cabinet has adopted a series of punitive measures and legal amendments that are meant to lower the level of political and civil rights available to Jordanian citizens.

[Mind you, the parliament has been dissolved, and the cabinet has implemented recently such a legal amendmentí which effectively bans marches and demonstrations.  Dozens of demonstrators from Al Baqaa Camp remain in jail since September 28, 2001, the first anniversary of the Intifada, under that amendment].

The new amendments, however, focus on the written and spoken word.  Al Majjd says that speakers and lecturers, as well as "writers, editors, and those corresponding via the internet" will be sent to the state security court [this is a court-martial, not a civilian court] if they:

1)    are SUSPECTED of offending the Royal Family
2)    badmouth it in email messages
3)    offend the government or badmouth its accomplishments
4)    undermine the prestige of the state, the status of its institutions, or the activities of any of its branches.

Al Majjd weekly added that these measures have already been adopted in a formal session of the Jordanian Cabinet on Wednesday, October 3rd, but that the government will be waiting for an appropriate timeí to announce them to the public.

On the political level, these measures seem to come in a gradual return to martial law, formally rescinded more than a decade ago.  Several laws affecting public gatherings, the press, political parties, etc. have either been put into effect, or are in the process of, to make martial law part of the legal system, not a suspension of the legal system.  This process has accelerated since the beginning of Al Aqsa Intifada actually, especially in preparation for the American aggression on Afghanistan.  In fact, the Jordanian regime has formally declared its support for that aggression, in spite of the fact that public opinion here is COMPLETELY behind Afghanistan and Bin Laden [with the exception of a very marginal minority].

May the U.S. government take note that it can only launch its alleged campaign for freedom and human rights in the world, with the help of Third World allies that suppress the freedom and the human rights of their people, for example, the recent shooting of three Palestinian demonstrators by Arafat's authority in Gaza.

Such hypocrisy!!


TRUE DEMOCRACY     Winter 2002     Copyright © 2002 by News Sourse, Inc.