Site Navigation

Jordan: Pro-Palestinian and Pro-Iraq activist arrested

25. December 2002

Dr. Hisham Bustani struggle for democratic rights

Dr. Hisham Bustani Arrested for an Article Exposing Jweideh Prison Conditions

Dr. Hisham Bustani, a human rights activist and a dentist by profession, was called in for interrogation yesterday morning concerning an article that he has published in the most recent issue of the Lebanese Bi-monthly al Adab that tackled the horrendous conditions of detainees in al Jweideh prison on the outskirts of Amman. A few months ago, Dr. Bustani had spent five days at al Jweideh prison along with activist Shadi Mdanat when the two were picked up outside the Union of Professional Associations (now under an onslaught by the government) for showcasing samples of empty EXPIRED gas canisters that Jordanian security troops had used on pro-Intifada demonstrators in Amman. Since then, Dr. Bustani had published details about the conditions at al Jweideh prison in several Jordanian opposition weeklies. At the time, Jordanian Authorities had mentioned that a committee was going to be formed to study the contents of the report on al Jweideh by Dr. Bustani and take rectifying measures.

Nothing happened of course. Dr. Bustani published an article about the conditions at al Jweideh prison in al Adab containing the same details previously published in Jordanian opposition weeklies, but with a view towards the psycho-political implications of oppression. As a consequence, al Adab was banned in Jordan. Dr. Bustani was called in for questioning again yesterday at the General Intelligence Division, from which he was transferred to the Amman section of the Intelligence Division, from which he was transferred to the office of the governer of Amman, from which he was transferred to the central police station of Amman IN CHAINS.

From that location, he was sent BACK upon the orders of the governor of Amman to al Jweideh prison again!

It behoves all of us to stand with Dr. Bustani in this ordeal, with freedom of expression, and with the rights of citizens to expose the kind of treatment they receive in government jails for expressing their opinion on public matters. In the meantime, American aid to the Jordanian government keeps on increasing despite the fact that the parliament has been suspended for a long time now and the fact that the state of democratic rights in the country has been on the decline. The crime of Dr. Bustani has been his daring to bring out into the open the kind of torture and humiliation that detainees go through at al Jweideh Prison, which is supposed to be only a temporary station between interrogation and the court, not a jail where detainees are interrogated, beaten, and humiliated, without any oversight whatsoever.

We, the independent activists in Amman, protest in the strongest possible terms this infringement on the rights of Jordanian citizens, and demand the immediate release of Dr. Bustani and all political prisoners in Jordanian jails.

Amman, Jordan
Christmas Day, 2002

Send protest messages to:

Prime Minister, Mr. Ali Abu Al-Ragheb
PO Box 80, 352
Amman, Jordan
Fax: 962 6 4 642520

Minister of Interior, Mr. Awad Khliefat
Fax: 962 6 464 0404
P.O. Box 100
Amman – Jordan

Jordanian Diplomatic Missions around the world:

Roma: 39-06-8606122
Washington DC : 202-966-3110
Vienna: 43-1-405 1031
Madrid: (34) 91-308-2536
The Hague: 317-0-354-1046
Bern: 41-31-382-2119
Bonn: 49-228-353-951
Paris: 33-1-46370206