Jordan: Prosecuted intellectual faces fictitious charges

On 17 September 2010, Issam Mohamed Tahar Al Bargaoui Al Uteibi was summoned by the Jordanian General Intelligence services and immediately arrested. He was held incommunicado for 64 days before being transferred to Joueidah prison where he is currently detained.

On 30 December 2010 Alkarama sent his case to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's requesting its intervention with Jordanian authorities on Mr Al-Uteibi's behalf.

On-going series of arrests

Mr Al-Uteibi, a 51 year old theologian from Al Racifa, had already been arrested on several occasions to prior to his arrest in September 2010. In fact, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) had already examined his case and rendered an Opinion on 22 November 2007 (N° 18/2007) confirming the arbitrary nature of his detention from 28 November 2002 to 12 March 2008.

In the days prior to his arrest, it was feared that Mr Al Uteibi would be re-arrested, as he had been under increasing pressure from various security apparatus. A few days later, on 17 September 2010, Mr Al Uteibi was arrested after responding to a summons by the General Intelligence services bureau.

He was held in secret detention for 64 days.

He was then transferred to Joueidah prison on 21 November 2010 and it was only then that he was able to inform his family of his whereabouts.

Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the Special Rapporteur on torture and to the Special rapporteur on freedom of expression on 22 September 2010 - in response to the family's fears that Mr Al Uteibi could be tortured while in prison.

Fictious charges

On 9 December 2010, Mr Al Uteibi was charged by the State Security Court of "endangering national security" and "destabilizing foreign relations".

Mr Al Uteibi had been arrested by the same services on many occasions prior to his most recent arrest. Furthermore, ever since his release in March 2008, he has been the target of on-going denigration.

On 8 July 2010 he was arrested and secretly detained for three days before being illegally put under house arrest from 10 August 2010 to 10 September 2010.

According to his family, Mr Al Uteibi had previously been targeted in order to prevent him from keeping contact with the Arabic medias, who regularly call him requesting interviews. His latest arrest is believed to be motivated by the same reasons.

The charges held against the victim are vague, imprecise and lack substance; which further confirms the fact that there are no specific facts can be held against him. Just as was the case with his previous detentions, Mr Al Uteibi is currently arbitrarily detained, in violation of article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Jordan ratified in 1975.