The FIDH calls for the immediate release of Toujan Al-Faisal

11/06/2002
Communiqué

A press conference organized by the support committee for the release of Toujan Al Faisal was held yesterday at the head office of the Union of Jordanian Women, in the presence of FIDH Vice President, Hafez Abu Saada.

The FIDH is very preoccupied by the deteriorating health conditions of Toujan Al Faisal, 53, who was admitted to hospital, on Saturday 8 June, suffering of general weakness.

The FIDH would like to underline that, despite the efforts of various Jordanian organizations and personalities, no NGO was allowed to visit her. Indeed, under Jordanian law, a female detainee, like Toujan, is not allowed to receive visits except from her parents and lawyer. According to Toujan’s lawyer, she has suffered bad treatments by female guards. She was given inadequate food and was restricted in her right to purchase fundamental goods like water. Therefore, she refused to eat. In reprisal, the prison personnel threatened her to feed her through injection, while refusing her lawyer and family permission to bring her adequate meals. Toujan’s health condition has been deteriorating very rapidly : on Wednesday she couldn’t stand on her feet, on Saturday she was finally admitted to hospital. She lost half her weight since she was jailed and her blood pressure is still very low. Given Toujan’s previous health problems - she suffered from cancer a couple of years ago -these bad treatments might favour a relapse, her lawyer said.

- The FIDH appeals for the immediate release of Toujan Faisal, not only on humanitarian grounds, but on the grounds that her sentence was pronounced by the State Security Court, which has no jurisdiction on that matter and that this sentence sanctions only her legitimate exercise of freedom of expression. She was judged indeed after she wrote a letter accusing the Jordanian Prime Minister of financial wrongdoing. The FIDH recalls that the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed by Article 15 of the Jordanian Constitution as well as by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Jordan in 1976. The FIDH urges for an immediate amnesty to Toujan Al Faisal.

- The FIDH calls on Jordanian authorities to withdraw from the anti-terrorist law adopted in September 2001, allowing for restriction of freedom of expression and for judgment under State Security Courts by military judges. These courts do not provide sufficient guarantees of independence and impartiality as guaranteed among others by article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

- The FIDH finally urges Jordanian authorities to ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards.

Reminder of facts : Toujan Al- Faisal, Jordan’s first female lawmaker is known for her criticism of the government and Muslim extremism during her 1993-1997 term in Parliament. She was charged after that she wrote an open letter to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, accusing Prime Minister Abul-Ragheb of financial wrongdoing. Faisal was detained March 16 before she was released on bail and re-arrested. She was charged with fours counts, including publishing false and exaggerated information that harmed the reputation of and damaged the dignity of the Jordanian government, contempt of judicial authorities and public administration, and mocking the Islamic faith by insulting a mosque preacher and inciting disturbances and killings. On 16 May, she was sentenced to 18 months prison according to the temporary updates of the State Security Court’s legislation in Jordan

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