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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Jordanian security forces arrest cartoonist Emad Hajjaj

Thursday , 27 August 2020

On Wednesday, August 26, 2020 a police patrol arrested Hajjaj, a cartoonist for the Qatari-funded news website Al-Araby al-Jadeed, on the Jordan Valley road while the cartoonist was on his way to Amman, the capital, and transferred him to the police headquarters in downtown Amman, according to a statement by his employer and a statement by the Amman-based press freedom group the Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists.

The arrest was prompted by a cartoon Hajjaj published yesterday, which criticized the recent deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

The next day, authorities brought Hajjaj to the public prosecutor’s office, where he was charged with “disturbing relations with a sister country” under the country’s counter-terrorism law, according to Mansour. If convicted, Hajjaj could face a minimum of 10 years hard labor, according to 2014 amendments to the counter-terrorism law. The public prosecutor’s office ordered Hajjaj to be detained for 14 days and transferred him to Salt Prison, northwest of Amman, Mansour said.

Hajjaj was previously sued and was subject to harassment and death threats in November 2017 over a cartoon he published about a land deal between Israeli settlers and the Greek Orthodox Church, as CPJ documented at the time.

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