x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Jordan release second group of Salafist prisoners

Jordan released 22 Salafists today accused of terrorism and fomenting unrest after clashes in the northern city of Zarqa in April.

AMMAN // Jordan released 22 Salafists today accused of terrorism and fomenting unrest after clashes in the northern city of Zarqa in April.

The state security court is considering releasing more than 90 Salafist, a legal source said.

The Salafists clashed with security forces on April 15 leaving 91 people wounded.

An investigation later found demonstrators had carried out attacks on police armed with weapons including swords, axes and iron bars.

Unlike other protests calling for reform in recent months, the Salafists demanded the release of Islamist prisoners.

Among those they wanted freed was Abu Mohammed Al Maqdessi, the one time mentor of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the now dead Al Qaeda in Iraq leader, who came from Zarqa.

Arrested in September 2010, Maqdessi was charged for recruiting fighters to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The decision to release the Salafists follows commitments made by Jordan's new prime minister, Awn Khasawneh, to re-examine cases against political prisoners.