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Jordan king orders release of jailed activists

Jordan's king pardons 19 activists detained after demonstrating in anti-regime protests

AFP , Sunday 15 Apr 2012
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Jordan's King Abdullah II on Sunday ordered the release of 19 political activists charged with insulting him during pro-reform demonstrations last month, a palace official said.

"The king instructed the government to take all necessary measures as soon as possible to release the jailed activists," some of them from the southern city of Tafileh, he told AFP.

"The decision was taken after the king met today with Tafileh's tribal leaders, who urged the king to pardon the activists."

Jordanian military prosecutors have accused the young activists of incitement against the regime, rioting and insulting the king.

Six of them were arrested in mid-March after a demonstration in Tafileh, while the other 13 were detained after a protest outside the prime minister's office in Amman.

Jordan's opposition Islamists and other political movements as well as international human rights organisations have repeatedly demanded their release.

In March, the military state security court freed an 18-year-old political activist from jail after the king pardoned him for burning a picture of the monarch.

Jordanians have been protesting since January 2011 to demand sweeping political and economic reforms and an end to corruption.

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