Jordanian court indicts Palestinian writer in absentia

Dec. 31, 2013 at 6:51 AM   |   0 comments

AMMAN, Jordan, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A Palestinian writer and academic says a Jordanian court indicted him in absentia, accusing him of damaging the country's image and inciting hatred.

"The court has indicted me for the crime of inciting hatred and attacking Jordan's image and the image of its one nation," Mudar Zahran told the Jerusalem Post Monday night. If found guilty, Zahran could face three years in prison.

Zahran said the indictment also accuses him of writing for Israeli newspapers.

"The only Israeli newspaper I write for is the Jerusalem Post," he said.

Zahran, who resides in Britain where he was granted political asylum, has publicly described Jordan as an apartheid regime that resembles the system of racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until 1994.

Kirk Sowell, the principal of Uticensis Risk Services, based in Amman, told the Post Jordanian law allows even peaceful activism to be prosecuted.

"Zahran is being prosecuted for openly attacking the king, which is illegal here, but there are a number of individuals being prosecuted right now," Sowell said.

In an article published by Israel Today Dec.11, Zahran accused Muslim authorities of neglecting Temple Mount, site of the al-Aqsa mosque. After visiting the site, he wrote the Islamic Wakf, in charge of maintaining Islam's third-holiest site, receives $280,000 in donations each month but does not use the money for renovations, maintenance, or caring for the poor and needy.

"It seems we Arabs and Muslims ... are harming al-Aqsa, not Israel or the Jews," he wrote.

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