Jordan: Pro-democracy protesters face jail terms of up to ten years from military tribunal.
Twelve pro-democracy protesters arrested over the weekend will be tried by a military tribunal. They took part in protests that demanded regime change in Jordan. Military tribunals are also still being used to try protesters in Egypt as well.
The activists shouted slogans in the protest that were judged to slander the King. Public criticism of King Abdullah II is a violation of the penal code. Imagine if a U.S. president were to attempt to pass a law making public criticism of the president illegal. Yet the U.S. is supportive of the Jordanian regime. Protesters continued protests yesterday in spite of the arrests.
Charges against the 12 arrested include, threatening the stability of the regime, illegal gathering, slandering the monarch, and inciting unrest. If convicted the 12 could face up to 10 years in prison.
The arrested protesters admit chanting slogans that urged regime change and that also criticized the king but maintain their statements fell within the bounds of free speech. Not in Jordan apparently.
The demand for regime change is an escalation in demands since before protesters had only asked the regime to reform. They also accused advisers to the monarchy with corruption. The recent demonstration at which these arrests took place was to protest the earlier jailing of six activists jailed last month for slandering the king.
Recently released activists complain of torture and humiliation by security forces after their arrest. One activist said:'Some of us were stripped naked and beaten in front of other detainees,' Jordan's protests so far have been mainly peaceful. For more see this article.