Last updated: 31 December, 2013

Jordan critic charged with incitement and insulting king

A Jordanian-Palestinian critic of Jordan’s monarchy has been charged with incitement and insulting the king after calling for revolt on social media, a security official said Tuesday.

Mudar Zahran, who currently resides in Britain, “is accused of inciting hatred against the regime, sectarian strife and insulting the king as well as security services,” the official told AFP without saying when the suspect was charged.

“In his social media writings, Zahran has described Jordan’s anti-riot police as the king’s ‘terrorist militia,’ claiming that they attacked pro-reform protesters, targeting Jordanian demonstrators of Palestinian origin.”

The kingdom is home to more than two million Palestinian refugees, as well as large numbers of Jordanians of Palestinian origin.

The security official said Zahran, who has written articles for Israel’s Jerusalem Post, “incited Jordanians to revolt… march on the palace until Jordan is liberated.”

The official said the case is being handled by a military state security court and that Zahran faces up to 15 years in jail with hard labour if convicted.

Jordan has been largely spared the kind of protests that have swept the Arab world since early 2011, but it still sees occasional demonstrations demanding political and economic reform and an end to corruption.