x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Jordan charges 146 Islamists with plotting acts of terror

A Jordanian military court charges 146 Islamists with plotting terrorist acts after they clashed with police earlier this month. They could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Protests in Zarqa this month were the catalyst for charges against Jordanian protesters.
Protests in Zarqa this month were the catalyst for charges against Jordanian protesters.

AMMAN // A military court charged 146 hardline Islamists with plotting terrorist acts in Jordan after they clashed with police in Zarqa earlier this month.

The state security court also charged the Salafis, who espouse an austere form of Islam, with carrying out riots and instigating sedition, Musa Abdullat, one of four lawyers representing them, said on Sunday. They could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.

"Investigation began on Wednesday evening and it is still ongoing, but three other lawyers and I were banned from meeting with our clients," he said. "I was told I had to have a prior permission from the security state prosecutor when I attempted to visit them last week. I tried to get a permission on Monday but I wasn't allowed to see the state security prosecutor."

Mr Abdulla said he is representing 25 Salafis.

Police have arrested 170 Salafis after violence - in which 83 people were injured - erupted two Fridays ago during a rally of nearly 400 Salafi protesters in Zarqa.

Police said 23 were freed due to the lack of evidence against them. Col Mohamad Khatib, the police spokesman, said 20 others were still at large. A police investigation said the Salafis were armed with swords, bats, knives, daggers and iron bars.

Salafis have been protesting for several weeks, demanding the release of 300 prisoners held since the late 1990s and calling for implementing their rigid form of Islam.

smaayeh@thenational.ae