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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Journalist Ahmed al-Zoubi jailed in Jordan 11 months after conviction under Cybercrime Law

Monday , 08 July 2024

On July 2, 2024, Jordanian authorities arrested journalist Ahmed Hassan al-Zoubi, a satirical journalist and publisher of the Sawalif news website, 11 months after he was fined 50 dinars (US$70) and sentenced to one year in prison for a Facebook post criticizing the government’s position on a controversial December 2022 transportation workers’ strike, according to multiple media reports and al-Zoubi’s lawyer.

Al-Zoubi is now in Marka prison in the capital, Amman, his lawyer, Khaled Jit, told CPJ via messaging app.

Al-Zoubi was convicted under Jordan’s Cybercrime Law of “the crime of performing an act that led to provoking conflict between the elements of the nation.”

CPJ, along with other rights organizations, has criticized the 2023 law.

Al-Zoubi’s lawyer told CPJ that there were procedural errors during the trial and asked the court to consider an alternative punishment to prison.

Khaled Qudah, a member of the Jordanian Journalists’ Syndicate, told CPJ that the organization respects the judiciary and its decisions, but that legal decisions and procedures regarding freedom of speech needed revision.

Al-Zoubi’s arrest comes weeks after the Soloh Court in Amman sentenced journalist Heba Abu Taha to one year in prison after convicting her of violating the Cybercrime Law for “inciting discord and strife among members of society” and “targeting community peace and inciting violence.”

The arrest also follows a decision in May to shutter the Al-Yarmouk TV channel in Jordan, where al-Zoubi worked years earlier.

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