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.

  • While this story is pretty much one-sided right now (although I expect the Jordanian government to deny it ever happened), it would remain tragically ironic for such a thing to have taken place only three weeks after His Majesty King Abdullah made a few highly-publicized assurances regarding free speech in Jordan…

    I wonder if such assurances were granted only to Jordanians and not foreigners who may have a critical opinion of the Kingdom…

    or maybe it was perceived as such…

    But then again, even this specific story doesn’t seem to have been widely-reported in local media, if at all (I haven’t seen it personally)…

    In any case, it is a shame, and if the details turn out to be accurate then it means Jordanian security forces have tarnished the image of Jordan, and yes, even made the King look a bit hypocritical on the world stage.

    Now I’m wondering what the fallout will be, if any. The lesson learned here should be that one of the worst things a state can do is attack someone who buys ink by the barrel.

  • While this story is pretty much one-sided right now (although I expect the Jordanian government to deny it ever happened), it would remain tragically ironic for such a thing to have taken place only three weeks after His Majesty King Abdullah made a few highly-publicized assurances regarding free speech in Jordan…

    I wonder if such assurances were granted only to Jordanians and not foreigners who may have a critical opinion of the Kingdom…

    or maybe it was perceived as such…

    But then again, even this specific story doesn’t seem to have been widely-reported in local media, if at all (I haven’t seen it personally)…

    In any case, it is a shame, and if the details turn out to be accurate then it means Jordanian security forces have tarnished the image of Jordan, and yes, even made the King look a bit hypocritical on the world stage.

    Now I’m wondering what the fallout will be, if any. The lesson learned here should be that one of the worst things a state can do is attack someone who buys ink by the barrel.

  • I agree with you Naseem, it’s definitely something to put us to shame yet I suppose what’s been promised by HM King Abdullah was mainly regarding the legal prosecution or rather the imprisonment of journalists or those who choose to practice freedom of Speech.

    But still definitely a faux-pas…

  • I agree with you Naseem, it’s definitely something to put us to shame yet I suppose what’s been promised by HM King Abdullah was mainly regarding the legal prosecution or rather the imprisonment of journalists or those who choose to practice freedom of Speech.

    But still definitely a faux-pas…

  • Najwa

    Jordan’s oafish state security has caused more harm to Jordan’s image abroad than any other source. It seems hose who claim to protect Jordan are protecting themselves and harming Jordan and Jordanians.

  • Najwa

    Jordan’s oafish state security has caused more harm to Jordan’s image abroad than any other source. It seems hose who claim to protect Jordan are protecting themselves and harming Jordan and Jordanians.

  • Can’t he mentions names of the intelligence officials who treated him that way? Maybe it is time to start highlighting the names of the offenders of freedom of expressions, just to know who is the enemy.

  • Can’t he mentions names of the intelligence officials who treated him that way? Maybe it is time to start highlighting the names of the offenders of freedom of expressions, just to know who is the enemy.

  • Almashkalgy

    “His Majesty King Abdullah made a few highly-publicized assurances regarding free speech in Jordan…”
    Com on Nassem you just can;t keep going around telling us that that king wants freedom of speech ,while his security apparatus going around defying his order ,you got to be more aware of what’s going on, you guys must understand that these orders has cone from him,personally
    Do you guys remember the Fiasco with Ghassan Ben Jedo from Aljazeera when Gassan interviewed his uncle criticised Saudi Arabia ,the films were confiscated at Airport ,do you guys remember that?

  • Almashkalgy

    “His Majesty King Abdullah made a few highly-publicized assurances regarding free speech in Jordan…”
    Com on Nassem you just can;t keep going around telling us that that king wants freedom of speech ,while his security apparatus going around defying his order ,you got to be more aware of what’s going on, you guys must understand that these orders has cone from him,personally
    Do you guys remember the Fiasco with Ghassan Ben Jedo from Aljazeera when Gassan interviewed his uncle criticised Saudi Arabia ,the films were confiscated at Airport ,do you guys remember that?

  • almashkalgy: i respect your right to hold that point of view as i would expect you to respect my right to mine. while we both disagree vastly on what’s happening behind the scenes, we both should also be aware that our points of view are speculative at best and depend almost entirely on observations. such observations depend on our respective interpretation of events, and that is something which is entirely subjective and will differ from person to person.

    i no more expect you to believe what i believe than you should expect the same from me.

    the difference between us however is that while i acknowledge this speculative aspect, you drive your opinion home as fact, which leads you down that slippery, condescending slope of “i am enlightened and all of you are in the dark”.

    let’s acknowledge that we are all in that same darkness, searching for a light switch.

    thanks.

  • almashkalgy: i respect your right to hold that point of view as i would expect you to respect my right to mine. while we both disagree vastly on what’s happening behind the scenes, we both should also be aware that our points of view are speculative at best and depend almost entirely on observations. such observations depend on our respective interpretation of events, and that is something which is entirely subjective and will differ from person to person.

    i no more expect you to believe what i believe than you should expect the same from me.

    the difference between us however is that while i acknowledge this speculative aspect, you drive your opinion home as fact, which leads you down that slippery, condescending slope of “i am enlightened and all of you are in the dark”.

    let’s acknowledge that we are all in that same darkness, searching for a light switch.

    thanks.