Skip to main content

Is Jordan's state security court threat to freedom of expression?

As the Jordanian authorities arrested about 20 activists and referred them to the controversial State Security Court, some have been voicing criticism against the use of loose charges to silence peaceful opposition voices.
A Jordanian protester holds a Jordanian national flag, and chants slogans during a protest against a government agreement to import natural gas from Israel, in Amman, Jordan, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed - RTSR7I4
Read in 

Former Jordanian member of parliament Wasfi al-Rawashdeh didn't know that the letter he addressed via Facebook Jan. 5 to Jordan's King Abdullah II would lead him to appear the following day before the State Security Court (a military court) on charges of undermining the system of governance under the Jordanian Penal Code. In the letter, which he titled “The last call,” Rawashdeh criticized the unprecedented corruption in Jordan and wondered, “Is the king aware of what is going on?”

Rawashdeh is one out of a long list of activists who were arrested by the Jordanian intelligence service in January and were referred to the prosecutor of the State Security Court. These include retired intelligence service Gen. Mohammed Abdul Karim Otoum who was arrested Jan. 12 after he called for a political reform conference. Among those arrested were also citizens who launched social networking campaigns aimed at boycotting goods in protest against the economic approach of the government.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.