Geneva - Jordanian authorities must immediately release three Jordanian politicians and a photojournalist who were detained by security forces while preparing to appear on a live broadcast at the house of one of the politicians in Amman to discuss local issues, Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement.
A security force of more than 20 members—some of whom were dressed in civilian clothes, while the rest were in Public Security uniforms—raided the home of Sufyan Tell, a politician and environmental expert, on Monday 5 December 2022, at around 3:30 p.m. The force detained Tell, political activists Abed Khalifa al-Tawahia and Omar Abu Rassa’, and photojournalist Mohammed Aboud as they were preparing to appear on a TV episode about internal issues.
Dara Tell, 44, the daughter of detainee Sufyan Tell, told the Euro-Med Monitor team that “the security force raided the house and dealt violently with the family members, holding them in one of the rooms and confiscating their mobile phones.”
She stated: “Then they arrested my 86-year-old father, his guests, and the photographer, whom the security forces assaulted with a slap on the face; they were all taken to an unknown location. My uncle attempted to intervene and object to the detention process, but he was pushed and threatened with detention. We are extremely worried about my father’s health because he suffers from serious heart disease, and we do not know where he is being held.”
The nature and method of the detention process are very similar to Jordanian security forces’ repeated practises of arresting political activists and restricting freedoms, raising concerns about a link between the detentions and opposition political activity, with which detainees are connected. According to Moeen Alharasis, a member of the Executive Office of the Unified Jordanian Movement, security forces arrested a group of fellow members of the movement who were participating in a live broadcast aimed at “publishing facts of interest to the Jordanian people and clarifying some issues”.
The detention process was marred by grave legal violations, including a violent raid, failure to present a legal justification, physical assault, and disruption of journalistic work, as well as the arbitrary confiscation of individuals’ freedoms for exercising their legitimate rights.
Jordanian authorities’ continued policy of stifling freedoms, including the arrest and detention of activists and dissidents through procedures that violate legal provisions and human rights principles, does not contribute to the promotion of democracy and freedom of expression, but rather to the deterioration of the overall state of freedom in the country. Authorities’ restrictions on the freedom of individuals and entities run counter to their obligations under the Jordanian Constitution, which clearly guarantees freedom of expression and opinion.
Article 15/1 of the Jordanian Constitution stipulates the following: “The State shall guarantee freedom of opinion. Every Jordanian shall be free to express his opinion by speech, in writing, or by means of photographic representation and other forms of expression, provided that such does not violate the law.”
Jordanian authorities must release the four detainees immediately, reveal the location(s) of their detention, and provide detailed explanations and legal reasons for the raid and detention. Euro-Med Monitor urges the authorities to respect free speech and refrain from taking any further steps that would limit people’s ability to express themselves freely and publicly.