Jordan: Geneva Council calls for the immediate release of the detainees and a halt to the use of laws to silence voices

GENEVA- The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) calls on the Jordanian authorities to immediately release dozens of people detained for expressing opinions and the right to peaceful assembly, and to end the arbitrary use of laws to silence voices.
The Geneva-based Council expressed in a statement on Friday, March 26, 2021, its concern over the decisions to subject detainees to prolonged periods of time without legal justification.
GCRL said in a previous statement issued last Wednesday, that the Jordanian security forces prevented peaceful gatherings and arrested scores for participating in protests marking the anniversary of the March 24 movement. 300 people were arrested and they remain in detention.
Jordanian activists commemorated on Wednesday the tenth anniversary of the dispersal of the March 24 sit-in (the first open sit-in in Jordan during the so-called Arab Spring 2011), calling on the Jordanian government to undertake broad constitutional reforms, foremost of which is amending the constitution and electing governments by the people.
There was intense security tightening and street closures in different regions across the Kingdom following calls from the United Jordanian Movement to commemorate March 24th shouting the slogan “There is a people here.”
According to Omar Abu Rasaa, a member of the Executive Office of the United Movement, the Jordanian security forces have arrested 200 people in the days leading up to the planned protests of March 24, while about 100 others were arrested while heading to participate in the peaceful gatherings that were suppressed the grip of security and police deployment.
Several complaints reported that the list of detainees includes: lawyers, human rights defenders, trade unionists, students, and other groups of civil society, and dozens of them were charged with illegal gathering, violating protective orders, and public disturbance.
Detainees are reportedly held for more than a week in inappropriate conditions with refusal on release on bail, and they are threatened with unfair trials.
The Geneva Council voiced concern over the conditions of detention of dozens of people and the lack of preventive and safety measures while in detention, including being crowded in small cells, amid the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic.
GCRL states that the arbitrary detention, on political grounds or for the exercise of a right guaranteed by local laws and international covenants, constitutes a grave violation of international human rights standards, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which affirmed that it is impermissible for the detention or arrest of persons to be the general rule.
It also stresses that the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are some of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and therefore every arrest on this ground is criminal and constitutes a legal violation that requires accountability.
Accordingly, the Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) calls for the release of all arbitrarily detained persons, an end to the politically motivated charges, and the respect of everyone’s rights which are guaranteed by domestic laws and international human rights covenants.

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