On Jordan’s Charges Against On-Line Editor of the IAF

I think this story isn’t getting the attention it deserves probably because the charges brought up against Deputy Secretary-General of the IAF, Jamil Abu Bakr, by Jordan’s State Security Court are practically expected; the sad political norm of our country. However there may be a larger matter here that people have not considered, especially Online Jordanians.

Jamil Abu Bakr is being charged with â??insulting the dignity of the stateâ? for posting on the IAF’s website articles in December 2004 which criticised alleged favouritism in the appointment of senior government officials and were written by two IAF representatives, Azzam al-Hunaidi and Ali Abu Sukkar.

Jamil is being charged because he posted them on the site as the online editor of the party’s website.

So for all you Jordanians (especially bloggers) who ever wondered if the powers that be are reading what you write, yeah, they probably are.

So this case is now multi-fold: you have a blow to political freedom, as well as freedom of the press, and online freedoms.

What continues to trouble me about the State Security Court (other than the fact that my fate may one day bring me before it) is that the judges are appointed by the Prime Minister. Which means if you insult the Prime Minister they can technically use the SSC to charge you with insulting the state or in this specific case: “belittling the dignity of the Jordanian state”. It’s basically the most dangerous court in the land and there is no separation between it and the government, which is obviously how you want your judicial system to operate.

There have of course been many many many many promises by the government and the king to encourage and expand freedoms in the country and while some of them have been increasing most of them have been going the other way. For some reason, and this is odd, when the government suddenly begins launching its talking points on a specific freedom, say for example the freedom of the press, in Jordan you should take that as a sign that what they really mean is that there’s going to be a crackdown on freedom of the press. This is not my opinion really, it’s more of a reflection of reality; this is what is happening.

2005 was a year filled with such promises of reform in laws that address political freedom and freedom of the press. 2006 should be a year when those promises are fulfilled.

I am however fairly â??positiveâ?? (and pessimistic) that 2006 will be a year where these freedoms will become even more restrictive then they have ever been in the past decade. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong.

But in the end itâ??s good to know that someoneâ??s reading.

I donâ??t care much. Do you?


  • I guess after the incident I’ve posted about it’s very clear that BigBrother is watching! And there was another case of a Syrian posting some messages on http://www.jordan.jo after the attacks and he was caught!Now comes this!
    Yes they are watching Tarawneh!

    The question is: Who is watching?
    Now with no doubt they have a good command of English, and usually people say those who talk freely about politics are nothing but BigBrothers trying to get others!And you (Nasim) got a good command of English and you speak freely, hah sounds like a theory? 😀
    Or maybe the fact that you live abroad and most probably is naturalized there?

    OKay get this! In Jordan we have what is called تÙ?Ù?Ù?ف ادارÙ? which is basically that the Ù?حافظ can put u in detention for any given time till ur transfered to a court! Some claim to have been stopped for almost a year!

    So they are reading this,eh?Better leave a good impression, put in a good word for me Tarawneh…

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