Jordan: Toujan al-Faisal denied basic rights

Amnesty International
Amnesty International has expressed its concern that Toujan al-Faisal is not being allowed to stand as a candidate in the upcoming Jordanian parliamentary elections of 17 June, 2003.
"Toujan al-Faisal is being denied her right to stand for elections on account of an unfair trial for expressing non-violent political beliefs," Amnesty International said today. "The Jordanian authorities have pledged to increase the representation of women in the coming elections. However, they are seriously undermining the legitimacy of the elections by curtailing the civil and political rights of an outspoken Jordanian woman."

The governor of Amman and the head of the elections committee, Abdul Karim Malahmeh, rejected Toujan al-Faisal's application on the grounds that she had previously committed a non-political offence. However, al-Faisal, Jordan's first-ever woman MP, was sentenced to one and a half years in prison following an unfair trial by the State Security Court on 16 May 2002. She was charged with publishing material deemed 'harmful to the country's reputation and that of its citizens' and 'tarnishing the Jordanian state.'