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Egyptian reporter held for seven hours at Amman airport

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, May 16th, 2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights denounced today the Jordanian intelligence services' detaining of journalist and political activist Abdel Halim Kandil for seven hours at Amman airport on May 15. Kandil had gone to Jordan at the invitation of a local association to give a lecture commemorating 62 years of Palestine occupation.

The journalist and writer, who is also General Coordinator of the Egyptian Movement for Change (also known as "Kefaya"), was surprised upon arriving in Amman when airport security officials stopped him, seized his passport and detained him at the request of Jordanian intelligence services without giving any reason. Kandil was kept in detention for seven hours before being allowed to enter the city at around midnight.

Jordan has become a trap for activists and journalists, according to ANHRI. Although Egyptians traveling to Jordan do not require a visa, many activists and journalists are surprised to find themselves detained at the airport by Jordanian intelligence officials for hours before being allowed to enter the country, or, in some cases, being sent back to Cairo.

In December 2008, Gamal Eid, activist and ANHRI executive director, was detained for six hours at Amman airport before being deported to Cairo. Eid was on his way to attend preparatory meetings for a training course for journalists in Jordan.

These practices by Jordanian intelligence officials would appear to disprove claims by some human rights organizations that freedom of expression in Jordan is universally respected.

Although ANHRI does not expect to see an inquiry by the Egyptian foreign ministry regarding the Jordanian intelligence's abusive detention of an Egyptian journalist, the organization would welcome such a probe.

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