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ANHRI's executive director denied entry to Jordan, detained and deported

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information reports that Jordanian intelligence prevented Gamal Eid, ANHRI's executive director, from entering Jordan on the night of 15 December 2008 and detained him for six hours at Amman's Alia airport before deporting him to Cairo.

Gamal Eid was heading to Amman on his way back from Beirut after participating in the celebrations honouring Ibrahim Issa, editor of the "Addustour" newspaper, who was awarded the annual prize of the World Association of Newspapers. From there, he went to Amman to participate in some meetings to prepare for a training course for journalists. He was taken by surprise by the arrest as Jordanian intelligence had not informed him until an hour earlier that he was not welcome in Jordan. He was detained in a dirty cell at the airport.

According to ANHRI, preventing Gamal Eid from entering Jordan and then deporting him is contrary to the assertions of the Jordanian king that "freedom of expression in Jordan is limited only by the sky." The Jordanian intelligence agency has not forgiven Gamal Eid for criticising the state of freedom of expression in Jordan during his November 2006 speech in Amman to a conference organised by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) on freedom of expression in the Arab world. At the time, a Jordanian security officer told him angrily not to think about returning to Jordan again, which Gamal Eid did not take seriously.

"Apparently I committed two crimes. First, criticising the state of freedom of expression in Jordan and, in addition, refusing to pay a bribe as was suggested to me by some intelligence officers. I don't know whether bribery was necessary to keep me out of the filthy cell in which I was detained or to let me into Jordan. In any case, I refuse on principle to pay any bribe," said Gamal Eid.

ANHRI has strongly condemned this retaliation by Jordanian intelligence against its director and his detention in a cell in the airport, saying, "Maybe the Jordan Intelligence Agency has the right to prevent Gamal Eid from entering Jordon, but it doesn't have the right to arrest and detain him in this way since he has not been charged with any crime, unless criticism of the state of freedom of expression in Jordan is a crime calling for such a punishment. It's an ill-mannered way for the state's police and intelligence service to act."

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