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Australian-Jordanian citizen detained without charge since July arrest by intelligence services at Amman airport


(Geneva, October 11, 2018) – Alkarama has requested the urgent intervention of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) in the case of Ismail Al Wahwah, a 60-year-old Jordanian-Australian citizen who remains detained without charge since he was arrested at Amman airport on July 25, 2018.

Al Wahwah, a father of six and leading member of Hizb Ut Tahrir in Australia, was arrested upon his arrival at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. He had travelled from his home in Sydney, Australia with his wife, Khawla, to visit family and friends in Jordan.

As they were going through passport control, they were instructed by immigration officers to wait in an adjacent room, where Al Wahwah was subsequently arrested by members of the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate (GID), the Jordanian intelligence services. Al Wahwah was taken to the GID’s headquarters in the Jandawil neighbourhood of Wadi Sir, a district of Amman, where he was detained incommunicado until August 3, 2018.

During this period, the GID and the State Security Court’s prosecutor questioned him over his social media activity while in Australia, most notably in relation to two Facebook posts in which he criticised the Jordanian government. He was also interrogated over his role within Hizb Ut Tahrir, a transnational Islamic religious-political organisation. The organisation is banned in Jordan, and, in the past, suspected members have been arrested, disappeared and subjected to torture and ill-treatment, as exemplified by the case of Ramsi Suleiman.

Under the State Security Court Law, the GID can detain a suspect for seven days ahead of their first presentation before the State Security Court’s general prosecutor. The general prosecutor – a military officer sitting at the GID headquarters whose independence is not ensured – may order a detention of 15 days, renewable for the “purpose of the investigation”, which should not exceed two months. More than two and a half months after his arrest, no charges have been brought against Al Wahwah, and thus his detention lacks any legal basis.

Al Wahwah is currently being held in solitary confinement at Amman's Marka prison following his transfer from Wadi Sir on August 15. His family remains particularly concerned over Al Wahwah’s health in detention, fearing a deterioration in his condition as he is not receiving appropriate medical care in prison.

Throughout September, several demonstrations were held in Amman calling for Al Wahwah’s release. On October 10, Alkarama requested that the WGAD urgently intervene with the Jordanian authorities to call for his immediate release. Al Wahwah should also be provided with an enforceable right to reparation.

For more information or an interview, please contact media@alkarama.org (Dir: +41 22 734 1006).