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Bani Rsheid defends Facebook post

By Taylor Luck - Nov 23,2014 - Last updated at Nov 23,2014

AMMAN — Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Overall Leader Zaki Bani Rsheid on Sunday defended his criticism of the UAE in his first public statements since his arrest and detention last Thursday.

In a statement relayed to Brotherhood shura council member Murad Adayleh, Bani Rsheid defended his statements critical of the UAE, which led to his arrest, claiming that they represented “free expression” protected under the Constitution.

“My statements regarding the UAE were free political expression and did not harm or affect Jordan’s relations with any foreign state,” Bani Rsheid said.

The government has denied that the arrest was politically motivated, highlighting that the Islamist leader violated the law.

“He violated the law and was detained as his statements in the article sour Jordan’s relations with a friendly country,” Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Khaled Kalaldeh told the Jordan Times on Saturday.

“His statements endangered the interests of Jordanians and the country. We are proud of our ties with the UAE, which is a supporter of Jordan,” the minister said.

In his statement, Bani Rsheid claimed that his arrest did not “target” him personally, but the entire Islamist movement in attempt to “undermine its role in combating corruption and defending the Palestinian cause”.

Bani Rsheid is currently being held at the Marka correctional facility in north Amman, awaiting referral to the State Security Court on charges of “damaging relations between Jordan and a foreign state” in statements posted on his Facebook page earlier this month.

According to Adayleh, Bani Rsheid is in “good health” and being detained in “acceptable conditions”.

Authorities arrested Bani Rsheid as he was exiting the movement's Amman headquarters and detained him for a 15-day period.

Brotherhood leaders claim the arrest comes amid “regional pressure” on Jordan to ban the group as a terrorist organisation, while officials say authorities are merely applying the recently amended Anti-Terrorism Law. 

The architect of the resurgence and prolonged success of the Brotherhood’s conservative wing, Bani Rsheid is widely viewed as the leading figure guiding the movement’s day-today internal and external policies. 

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