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French Version

Jordanian press slams HRW's rights report

Jordanian newspapers reacted angrily Wednesday to allegations by Human Rights Watch of arbitrary arrests and torture in Jordan, saying the report was a political campaign to discredit the country. Newspapers said intelligence services targeted in the US-based rights watchdog's report were dealing within the rules of law to protect Jordan from terrorism and Islamic fundamentalists prone to violence.

"Once again Human Rights Watch has published inaccurate, unconvincing and inflammatory reports about Jordan, about claims of torture and human rights abuses," the government daily Al-Rai said.

"These reports are raising many questions about the suspicious goals [of HRW] ... [which] no one can consider as innocent, for they fall within a political agenda," it said in a front-page editorial.

The General Intelligence Department (GID) plays a key role "within the rules of law" in protecting Jordan "against terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists," Al-Rai said.

The semi-official Al-Dustour insisted that Jordan "is a democratic country open to all non-government organizations dealing in human rights ... despite demands by opposition parties to freeze their activities."

The paper charged that the report was rife with "exaggerations and mistakes concerning the methods of Jordan's security agencies, particularly in monitoring terrorist organizations."

"By reading such a report one believes that Jordan is a dictatorship where human rights are abused for no reason, because the report does not mention anything about Jordan being a target of terrorism," it said.

"Jordan faces very difficult challenges and safeguarding security and stability is not an easy task," it added.

In the report released at an Amman news conference Tuesday, HRW urged the Jordanian government to carry out a thorough political and judicial investigation into human rights abuses in the country.

It specifically called for an investigation into allegations of arbitrary arrests and torture of suspects carried out by the intelligence services.

The report echoed a similar study conducted by the UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak, who said in June that Jordan must criminalize torture and singled out GID detention facilities as "notorious" torture centers.

A Jordanian government spokesman said the authorities will examine the allegations made by HRW.

Amman,26September2006
Redaction
The Daily Star


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