Jordanian Intelligence Deports Rights Activist

الإثنين 22 كانون الأول 2008

Gamal Eid in his office in Cairo.

Gamal Eid in his office in Cairo.

7iber – On December 16th, 2008, The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information announced that their executive director, Egyptian Gamal Eid, had been detained at Queen Alia Airport and then deported. The center gave Mr. Eid’s criticism of the lack of freedom of expression in Jordan several years ago as the reason he was denied entry in Jordan.

The LATimes reported Eid’s deportation as well as Global Voices.

The following is the official press release as published:

Cairo, 16 December, 2008

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said today that the Jordanian intelligence had prevented Gamal Eid, executive director of the Arabic Network, entering Jordan last night and had detained him for six hours at Amman’s airport, prior to his deportation to Cairo.

Gamal Eid was heading to Amman on his way back from Beirut after participating in the celebrations honoring Ibrahim Issa, editor of the Addustour newspaper and awarding him the annual prize of the World Association of Newspapers. From there he went to Oman to participate in some meetings to prepare for a training course for journalists, but he was taken by surprise by the arrest as Jordanian intelligence had not informed him until an hour previously that he was not desired in Jordan, and then he was detained for five hours in a dirty cell at the airport.

Preventing Gamal Eid from entering and then deporting him from Jordan 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 had not forgiven him for criticizing the state of freedom of expression in Jordan two years ago in Amman, during his speech at a conference called by AMARC Network”, on the subject freedom of expression in the Arab world. This was in November 2006, and a Jordanian security officer told him angrily not to think about returning to Jordan again, which was not taken seriously by Gamal.

“Apparently I committed two crimes, firstly criticizing 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 in or to let me into Jordan, in any case I refuse on principal to pay any bribe. ” said Gamal Eid.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has condemned strongly this retaliation from Jordanian intelligence against its director and his detention in a cell in the airport – ALIA Airport – saying, “Maybe the Jordon 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, because he has not been charged with any crime, unless criticism of the state of freedom of expression in Jordon is a crime calling for such a punishment. It’s an ill-mannered way to act by state’s police and intelligence.

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