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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jordanian journalist exposes corruption - and gets arrested

From Deutsche Welle:
Jordan has arrested a journalist who published allegations that the country’s Royal Court abused its power by protecting a former cabinet minister from indictment. Journalists have demonstrated to demand his release.

Authorities detained Jamal Muhataseb, owner of Jordanian news website Gerasanews.com, on Monday after he published an article in which it was alleged that the Royal Court had intervened to stop the indictment of a former minister.

Muhataseb, also chief editor of the Marra weekly newspaper faces charges of disseminating "anti-regime sentiment," according to colleagues.

Jordan's Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) condemned the arrest.

"The state security court should not look into issues related to press and publication. We call for the immediate release of Muhtaseb. His detention violates press freedom," said the head of the Jordanian Press Association Tareq Momani.

The CDFJ described the detention of Muhatseb as a "contradiction" of repeated pledges by monarch King Abdullah II to maintain "sky-high" press freedoms in the country.

Muhatseb's colleagues also criticized the fact that the allegations against the journalist were being dealt with by the State Security Court, a military tribunal.
The charge against Muhataseb? "Disseminating anti-regime sentiment."