Jordan Releases Editor On Bail


(AP) The editor of a liberal Jordanian weekly was released on bail Thursday, five days after he was arrested on charges of harming the government’s reputation.

Hashim al-Khalidi, of the weekly al-Bilad, was released on $1,400 bail, his lawyer, Mohammad Harahsheh, said.

Harahsheh told The Associated Press his client was expected to stand trial at the State Security Court, despite Harahsheh’s requests it be heard in a civilian court. No date has been set.

Al-Khalidi was detained Sunday after writing a March 13 column in al-Bilad, accusing unnamed officials with connections to the insurance industry of making personal gains from a 100% hike in the price of mandatory car insurance, imposed this month. Al-Khalidi was charged with writing false information and rumors that harmed the reputation of the state.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday it was “alarmed” by the detentions of al-Khalidi and Toujan Faisal, a former legislator.

Faisal, an outspoken critic of the government, was taken into custody Saturday, after she published on a Web site criticizing the performance of Prime Minister Ali Abul-Ragheb. She too has been accused of harming the government’s reputation.

She was ordered held for 15 days for investigation, and at least two requests for her bail have been turned down, her lawyer, Hani Khasawneh, said. Faisal, a member of parliament from 1993 to 1997, began a hunger strike on Sunday to protest her detention.

Jordan amended its penal code in October, widening the scope of prohibited press reporting and imposing harsher penalties for violators.

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