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Jordanian security forces crack down on protest calling for prisoner's release

Relatives of Ahmed Dagamseh, a Jordanian soldier who was sentenced to life imprisonment in March 1997, and other activists shout slogans against the Israeli and Jordanian governments during a protest to demand his release in front of the Jordanian parliament in Amman on 18 March 2014
Relatives of Ahmed Dagamseh, a Jordanian soldier who was sentenced to life imprisonment in March 1997, and other activists shout slogans against the Israeli and Jordanian governments during a protest to demand his release in front of the Jordanian parliament in Amman on 18 March 2014

REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the Jordanian security force's use of excessive force in the dispersal of a protest held on 18 March 2014 in front of the House of Representatives calling for the release of detained Jordanian soldier Ahmed Dagamseh.

The protest was organised by members of Dagamseh's tribe as well as a number of his supporters. Demonstrators were calling for the release of Dagamseh, the return of Jordan's ambassador to Tel Aviv, and the annulment of the Wadi Arab peace treaty with Israel. On 19 March 2014, Dagamseh entered the fifth day of a hunger strike he initiated to demand his release.

Ten demonstrators were left injured as a result of violence on the part of police officers. A few others were detained, including the soldier's son Noor Dagamseh, who was captured while heading to the hospital to treat his injuries.

Dagamseh, who served as a border guard on the Israeli-Jordanian border, was jailed in 1997 for shooting at a group of Israeli girls who had been mocking him while he performed his prayers near Bakura. He has served his full sentence at the Lulu Rehabilitation Center in Al-Mafraq. He remains in prison however and is yet to be released.

"Jordanian security forces' use of excessive force to break up the protest is a clear violation of citizens' right to peaceful demonstration as well as freedom of expression," stated ANHRI. "It is also considered a perpetuation of the violations committed by security forces against freedom of opinion and expression."

ANHRI calls upon Jordanian authorities to immediately release all activists detained during the dispersal, to ensure their safety, and to halt all forms of prosecution against them. Additionally, it calls for the release of soldier Ahmed Dagamseh since he has completed his prison sentence.

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