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Jordanian journalist arrested under cybercrime law | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

Hiba Abu Taha, a Jordanian journalist, was arrested for an article she wrote about Jordan’s alleged role in exporting goods to Israel.

Abu Taha is the sixth journalist arrested by Jordan since October, as part of a greater crackdown related to pro-Palestine activism. [Getty]

Hiba Abu Taha, a Jordanian journalist, was arrested on Monday under the country’s cybercrime law for an article she published in a Lebanese media outlet about Jordan’s alleged role in exporting goods to Israel.

This is the third time Abu Taha has been arrested for her journalism. The Amman Public Prosecutor decided to detain her for one week based on a complaint filed against her by the Jordanian Media Commission regarding her article.

Jordan has carried out a crackdown on activists and journalists since 7 October, mainly after protests broke out in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman in March.

Jordanian authorities have arrested six journalists in total and well over 200 protesters, with no official figure available for the latter. In one case, Jordan arrested a Syrian university student on his way to cover a pro-Palestine protest and threatened to deport him to Syria despite his refugee status.

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on the Jordanian government to cease its crackdown on pro-Palestine protesters and protect freedom of expression.

Authorities have relied on the country’s new cybercrime laws to arrest many activists and journalists either involved in pro-Palestine activities or covering Jordan’s role in the Gaza-Israel war.

The law, passed in August, criminalises a slew of online activity, including defaming, insulting, or criticising official bodies and persons.

A coalition of 14 digital rights organisations sent a letter to the King of Jordan calling on him to repeal the cybercrime law, arguing that it undermines citizens’ freedoms.

Pro-Palestine protesters have generally refrained from directly criticising the king and his government’s policies when it comes to Gaza.

However, protesters have called for an end to what they call the “land bridge,” referring to Jordan allowing trucks coming from the Gulf to transit through its territory to Israel. They have also called for an end to vegetable exports from Jordan to Israel as part of a complete economic boycott of Israel.

The Jordanian government has denied the existence of a land bridge, with the country’s PM Bisher Khasawneh calling them “fabrications.”

Rights groups have noted a steady erosion of civic space in Jordan since 2020, with rights monitor Freedom House downgrading the country to “Not Free” in 2021.


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