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Man charged with undermining regime, lèse-majesté

By Rana Husseini - Jun 06,2017 - Last updated at Jun 06,2017

AMMAN — A 56-year-old man was charged on Monday by the State Security Court (SSC) prosecutors with lèse-majesté and undermining the regime, after allegedly posting videos on his Facebook page, his lawyer said.

Lèse-majesté is the crime of insulting the monarch or monarchy. 

Saber Adayleh, an employee at a private company, was reportedly arrested on May 31 by security forces while at his home in Aqaba, and later detained at Marka Prison, his lawyer, Musa Abdullat, said.

Adayleh reportedly appeared in two recent videos, one lasting for around 15 minutes and the other for around 30 minutes, which he posted on his Facebook page.  The videos have also been posted on YouTube. 

One video, posted on May 23, is titled “Crossing red lines in Jordan”, while the other, “Jordanians committing suicide on the verge of a miserable life”, was posted on 26th May.

Adayleh can be seen in the videos in a white abaya allegedly attacking the state, accusing high-level officials of corruption, which he says has caused people to become poorer.

He also called on people to take to the streets and protest the status quo.

Abdullat told The Jordan Times he was able to see his client on Monday and was informed that he started a hunger strike on June 1.

“My client pleaded not guilty to the charges and informed the SSC prosecutor that he did not mean to slander the King, that he respected the Constitution and that he was only calling on the government to hold corrupt individuals accountable and to imprison them,” Abdullat said.

If convicted of the charge of lèse-majesté, Adayleh could face up to three years in prison, while the charge of undermining the regime carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Attempts to contact the SSC prosecutors by The Jordan Times all day Monday went un-answered.

Abdullat, who usually defends clients with cases similar to Adayleh’s, as well as clients accused of terror-related charges, said he was hopeful that his client and others who are “detained for their political views will be released before the Eid holiday”.

 

“People are already suffering from the hard economic situation and are struggling to make ends meet.  I do hope that the Jordanian government will give a window to those who want to express their political views and freedom of speech, without locking them up in prisons,” Abdullat added.

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