Jordan releases two for Mubarak insults
Jordan’s top public prosecutor ordered two activists accused of criticizing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak over Egypt’s construction of a steel wall along their border with the Gaza Strip, released from custody, the country’s justice minister reported. The move comes after Amman received much criticism over their handling of the situation.
Salman Masaeed and Yousif Abu Luha were arrested on January 11 after they participated in a demonstration in front of Egypt’s Embassy in Jordan. Trade unions and opposition parties and groups lashed out at the government, arguing the arrests were an infringement on freedom of speech.
“It is a dark time to be Jordanian if you want to speak your mind,” said activist Razan Mawla. She said the court’s ruling “is a sign that things are not getting better in this country.”
In Egypt, freedom of speech and human rights are contentious issues, with the government cracking down on outspoken bloggers and activists on a routine basis. Rights groups, both local and international, have called on Cairo to end its detention policy for activists’ writings and statement on their personal blogs or at demonstrations, but the government has refused to cut back on its crackdowns, which have seen scores of activists and bloggers behind bars in recent years.