Free Speech Has Its Lips Stapled Shut

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Amman prosecutor on Sunday rejected a bail request for former MP Ahmad Oweidi Abbadi, who was detained last week on charges of slander, undermining the country's reputation, and violating laws governing e-mail practices, his lawyer said.

Last Thursday, Amman Prosecutor Saber Rawashdeh ordered Abbadi's detention for 15 dyas at the Jweideh Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre pending further investigation, following a complaint filed by Interior Minister Eid Fayez, a judicial source told The Jordan Times.

Abbadi's arrest was made in connection with statements he published on the Internet criticizing Jordan and its officials, including the interior minister, a judicial source told The Jordan Times. He did not elaborate.

The statement at the center of the controversy involves an open letter in English addressed to US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which was posted on the [Jordan National Movement] website. Abbadi is the group's chairman.

The letter, dated April 30, accuses top government officials of corruption and claims the country is suffering a setback in democratic freedoms, particularly freedom of the press and the "abuse of detainees."

It also blamed corruption for "setting back the state of affairs in the country's social, educational and health institutions."

This article disturbs me. How do we expect to combat government corruption when anyone who speaks out can be arrested as a slanderous underminer? And what is up with the idea of "laws governing e-mail practices"?

What better way to prove that the country is pro-freedom of speech than by locking up someone who claims otherwise.

Source: The Jordan Times, May 7, 2007


Blogger kinzi said...

I'm sensing this 'around' not just the obvious ramifications such as this one you have outlined.

There are some serious restrictions of freedoms happening. Fear is increasing. When I ask people what they are doing about what they are experiencing, they say 'nothing, it's not worth the price I would have to pay'. Not good, not progress

5/10/2007 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Batir said...

Dave; Abbadi is a fascist right wing politician with a message of Hatred. He is the Jordanian equivalent to David Duke. You can continue your argument from this point.

5/10/2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger Dave said...


I don't know a thing about Abbadi, other than what the article claims concerning his educational background (not printed here). I am neither arguing for or against him.

The issue that appears unsettling is that of squelching anyone who speaks against government corruption, an issue that most of us know exists. Other issues to consider are the "laws governing e-mail practices", something I'm sure most of us would like to know more about.

The beauty (or ugliness) of freedom of speech is that everyone has a voice, even those with whom we don't agree. David Duke has the freedom of speech even though many people vehemently oppose what he stands for. In fact, he speaks freely against Israel and "the Zionists", which should make some people I know very happy.

5/10/2007 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

strange how you did not object to the jailing of the Jordanian MPs who attended the funeral of Zarqawi. you guys are typical Americans, selective morality and all.


5/10/2007 5:15 PM  
Blogger Dave said...


Don't mistake silence for acceptance. And be careful when you generalize, my friend. That door has swung both ways too many times.

5/10/2007 5:36 PM  
Blogger Mohanned Al-arabiat said...

I totaly see where you are coming from, but the sad reality is that the people who preach for free speech only wants power, and as soon as they get it, the no more free speech for others..Any way abbadi is a racist who wants to get a high ranking position in the government in any possible way..
BTW the majority leader is no longer harry reid, I left abbadi a comment on his website about that, but the mule is a mule:D

5/10/2007 11:01 PM  
Blogger Jad said...

Freedom of speech is there when you want to make a change peacefully not by cursing people in private and public Saloons.

This man has black history and I would call him "The curse of the black perl" in Jordanian democracy progress.

I'm not saying we have ideal life in Jordan but it is very decent and things are getting better everyday especially in the sectors he's blaming.

Anyway, I'm not sure how a man with about 20 years as a policeman would be the one we are defending under Freedom of speech umbrella.

#"What better way to prove that the country is pro-freedom of speech than by locking up someone who claims otherwise.
Honestly I've never heard of anyone who was grabbed for being polite democrat or a tough criticizer.

The thing is with all modernization we still tribal living creatures and cursing people is the way to fire up a serious problem and this is why law has to be strictly applied in such cases regardless of the parties add to that it's very fine and acceptable to see a minister filing a charge against anyone for personal reason, simply it is his right if he was abused.

5/11/2007 12:26 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Batir, Mohanned, Jad,

As I mentioned, I know practically nothing about Abbadi other than what the article stated, so thanks for educating me concerning his past tactics, his potential motives, and his poor public opinion.

Jad, you mention that you've never heard of anyone being grabbed for being a polite democrat or touch criticizer, and I'm sure you're right in this case. The article, however, gives the impression otherwise, which caused me a bit of concern.

5/11/2007 7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Don't mistake silence for acceptance. "

but choosing when to break your silence is selective morality. the MPs were anti-Americans and anti-israel, hence you felt their right to free speech is not worth your blog. But Abbadi is pro-American so you felt he was worth the defense. Therefore, selective morality. Who cares if the door swings both ways. it has been swinging your way for as long as remember. so when you are on the receiving end, you speak of both ways. there is no both ways in the US media. there is your way vs. your way. of course there are token exceptions to ever rule.

5/11/2007 11:57 AM  
Blogger Dave said...


As I stated before (and am mentioning for the third time now), I know hardly anything about Abbadi, which includes whether he is pro-American or not. And personally, I don't care, so your accusations are falling a bit flat.

It appears that since I am an American, you think that I have some sort of control over U.S. media, or are in some ways represented by its stances. Such an idea makes no sense whatsoever. Not only am I generally against the spin of U.S. media, but they are not able to represent all Americans any more than most Arab media outlets can represent all Arabs.

As for the Zarqawi MPs, I had barely started blogging in Jordan long enough to know what was going on, especially something that was fairly "behind the scenes" to the rest of the world.

5/11/2007 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you live in a democracy where citizens are accountable, by the powers they derive from their voting rights, for the laws of the land that tolerate defemation of one people/race/religion and for war crimes committed by a man, bush, who was elected by the majority. if democracy is not the most valid form of generalization, then we have entered the Absurdity Zone.

5/11/2007 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Amerabian said...

Freedom of speech never existed. You just have to believe in it so you'd speak out and then your government would invite you to their reputable tables.

5/13/2007 8:38 AM  
Blogger Omernos said...

what about Abbadi's sexual harrasment case years ago? Or ear biting incident?

5/13/2007 10:17 PM  
Blogger Dave said...


What about them?

5/13/2007 10:25 PM  
Blogger Omernos said...

I'm just trying to inform you since you don't know about the man's history. I'm not sure a member of parliament who gone through a case of sexual harassment or any other stunts can be any of a political trustworthy public figure.

I don't know, we might differ on this but I'd have to second Jad on this one...

5/14/2007 12:15 PM  
Blogger Dave said...


Sexual harassment and a politically untrustworthy public figure? It sounds like we're now talking about former US president Bill Clinton. Despite his improprieties, I have plenty of Arab friends who still think Bill Clinton was great. ;)

I'm not focusing on the man's character here. What I'm concerned about is the question: is free speech being stifled in Jordan? Are public officials allowed to speak out freely against government corruption? I'm looking for a pretty basic yes or no answer.

5/14/2007 12:55 PM  
Blogger Omernos said...

Well I know for sure one man who criticise whatever's wrong with the country out and loud and nobody is doing anything to him.

Maybe because he was an integral part of the country back in older days, but I don't know if we should consider this a "privilege" or not.

You can criticise the government, but you can't criticise the higher authorities. And what Abbadi did was nothing but a stupid act, if he wants to complain complain to his own people or whoever and not jump all the way over to the American Congress which I'm sure more or less has enough (US) to worry about...

5/14/2007 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Batir,
its realy sad what you are thinking about dr.oweidi alabbadi!!
he is not a fascist!!
why you please tell us why do you think he ist facist!!
the regmie are trying to damge his image!! so please dont belive everything you are hearing

6/01/2007 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Omernos!!
i just want to inform you too that dr.oweidi alabbadi sexaulle case you are talking about was faked by the jordanian intelligance and he was spoke free and ungilty !!
so please tell the whole truth and not just the halb of the truth!!

6/01/2007 10:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home