Middle East News
Arab watchdog accuses Jordan of human rights violations
Apr 10, 2007, 19:03 GMT
Amman - the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) on Tuesday accused the Jordanian authorities of human rights violations ranging between encroachment on public freedoms and the extradition of a Jordanian citizen to the United States without prior judicial decision.
The Amman-based AOHR in particular criticised the government for pushing through parliament the Terrorism Prevention Law, and other legislations, which it said provided for 'harsh penalties outside the domain of the criminal code'.
'Accordingly, such laws curtail the constitutional and legal rights previously enjoyed by the Jordanian citizen and indicate they were designed to reimpose a martial law atmosphere on the country,' the organization said in its 2006 annual report.
The Terrorism Prevention Law allows the public prosecutor to detain suspected terrorists, the search of their homes and preventing them from travel abroad as well as the seizure of funds which could be used for financing terrorist activities.
The AOHR blamed Jordan for signing an agreement with the United States under which the Amman authorities agreed not to hand over any US citizen, for whatever reason, to the International Criminal Court or any other party without prior 'written approval from the United States'.
It also criticized the Jordanian authorities for the extradition of a Jordanian citizen, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, to the United States without prior authorization from the Jordanian judiciary.
'The move runs counter to the Jordanian constitution and other laws which disallow the extradition of any Jordanian to another government without a final court ruling,' the AOHR said in its report.
The report also noticed that the country's State Security Court had issued 'harsh sentences including death penalties' on a large number of defendants upon 'confessions which they alleged had been extracted from them by force or under torture'.
'The General Intelligence Department still also refuses to allow AOHR personnel to visit investigation and detention sites,' the organization said.
'Some prison inmates have also reported that they have been beaten, tortured, insulted and forced to sign confessions in order to escape torture,' it added.
The Arab human rights watchdog cited the detention of four deputies belonging to the Islamic Action Front (IAF) for extending condolences to the family of the Jordanian fugitive Abu Musab al- Zarqawi after he was killed in a US airstrike inside Iraq in June.
It also cast doubt on the legality of depriving two of them -Ali Abul Sukkar and Mohammad Abu Fares?of their seats at the lower house of parliament in lieu of a 13-month jail term passed on them by the Court of Cassation.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur