Twelve pro-democracy activists are facing trial in a military tribunal for their participation in peaceful protests over the weekend that included chants for “regime change.”
The protesters may be sentenced to 10-years in prison if convicted. The slogans they chanted in a Saturday demonstration were deemed an insult to and public criticism of King Abdullah II – a serious violation of the law. The charges also include threatening the stability of the regime, slandering the monarch and inciting unrest.
The activists, who have no chance for a civilian trial, were part of a larger group of 40 protesters detained on Saturday. Twenty-eight of them were released and claimed that Jordanian security forces beat them severely and subjected them to torture while in custody.
“Some of us were stripped naked and beaten in front of other detainees,” said one activist, who declined to use his real name due to security concerns.
The dictatorship ruling Jordan is a strong ally of the United States. Since Obama took office, Jordan has received over $2.4 billion in U.S. economic and security aid and is set to receive another $675 million in 2012.
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