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Jordan editor charged with anti-regime incitement

Military prosecutors charge website editor Jamal Muhtaseb with anti-regime incitement over graft report

AFP , Monday 23 Apr 2012
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A news website editor was charged with anti-regime incitement on Monday, a prosecutor said, after he published allegations over a graft probe into a $7 billion project.

"Jamal Muhtaseb, chief editor of Gerasa News, was charged with incitement against the regime today," the military state security court prosecutor told AFP without elaborating, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The news report published the same day quoted an unnamed MP as claiming that "lower house deputies had received 'royal directives' not to indict a former minister for alleged graft."

Muhtaseb, who was remanded in custody for 14 days pending trial, faces 15 years in jail if convicted.

The government last year opened an investigation into a huge housing project for low-income citizens after calls by MPs to probe the scheme over suspected corruption.

Jordan's Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) condemned the detention.

"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 Tareq Momani, head of the press association.

CDFJ president Nidal Mansur warned the media in Jordan was "in danger."

"The terrorising of journalists continues in this country, and governments are not meeting their obligations and continue to detain journalists," he said in a statement.

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