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Jordan: Free Taher Nassar!

Human Rights Watch reported earlier in December 2010 that Tahir Nassar, a lawyer and former parliamentary candidate, was arrested and detained in a Jordanian prison on charges of “stirring up sectarian strife.” Nassar's offense was his election manifesto that highlighted discrimination against Jordanians of Palestinian origin. Nassar, from Rusaifa, lost in the November 9th election in the Zarqa electoral district. According to Human Rights Watch, he was detained on November 27th, after international election monitors had left Jordan.

Naseem Tarawnah responded:

So here’s the question that begs itself in light of recent events: if someone calls for an end to discrimination between citizens and claims that all citizens should be equal, a claim that is guaranteed by the country’s own constitution, why is this person being tried for inciting sectarian strife? Is to simply speak about discrimination and the identity issue an attempt to stir sectarian strife? Does merely discussing this qualify as a crime?

Why are any attempts to grapple with this issue deemed to be incendiary by the state? Why, even in an election where a candidate’s materials is supposed to be subject to public discourse, are we stifling any opinion that claims we have a problem with the identity issue? In doing so, does the state not automatically demonstrate that we quite clearly do indeed have a problem with this issue?

Nadim commented in response to Naseem's article:

post this in arabic and you will find yourself sleeping in the same cell

On Twitter, relatively few Jordanians responded to the HRW post and tweet. One who did, Yanal, subsequently tweeted:

There are rarely any RTs of @hrw topics abt #JO by Jordanians! None! Someone who called for equality was imprisoned, could happen to many!

A Facebook group has been founded in support of Tahir Nassar, claiming
49 members as of December 20th. The group's information page says:

هذه الصفحة مخصصة للمطالبة بالافراج عن
المرشح السابق لعضوية مجلس النواب السادس عشر
. :: المحامي طاهر نصار :: .

This page is dedicated to petitioning for the release of the former candidate for the Sixteenth Lower House of Parliament, Attorney Taher Nassar.

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