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Brotherhood leader pleads not guilty to ‘harming Jordan’s ties with UAE’

By JT - Dec 22,2014 - Last updated at Dec 22,2014

AMMAN — The State Security Court (SSC) on Monday refuted objections that were raised by the defence team of Zaki Bani Rsheid, the Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy overall leader.

During the first court session of Bani Rsheid’s trial last week, his lawyers argued that the SSC is not constitutional and lacks the mandate to prosecute him. 

The defendant was indicted by the SSC based over his Facebook comments attacking the United Arab Emirates for labelling the Brotherhood a terrorist group earlier this year.

He is charged with harming Jordan’s relations with a foreign state.

After reading the charge sheet to the defendant during Monday’s session, Bani Rsheid pleaded not guilty, saying that he has committed no guilt, offence or violation that calls for legal accountability, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

During the opening session of his trial, he argued that his alleged offence falls under the Press and Publications Law and not the Anti-Terrorism Law, and therefore was under the jurisdiction of civilian courts.

At the end of Monday’s session, the court decided that it will start listening to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses during its next session on Sunday, according to Petra. 

Lawyer Saleh Armouti, who leads Rsheid’s defence team, said the lawyers will file a plea at the Court of Cassation, to be referred to the Constitutional Court, on the unconstitutionality of the SSC.  

Bani Rsheid was arrested outside the Brotherhood’s Amman headquarters last month after he posted a statement on Facebook in which he accused the UAE of promoting “Zionist” foreign policies and indirectly sponsoring “extremism” in the region.

During the first court session, Armouti argued that Bani Rsheid’s statements have not impacted Jordan’s ties with the UAE.

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