Jordan jails Muslim Brotherhood leader

Deputy leader of the movement in the country sentenced to 18 months in prison for criticising UAE.

Rushaid was arrested in November 2014 for criticising the UAE [Reuters]

A Jordanian security court has sentenced a Muslim Brotherhood leader to 18 months in prison for criticising the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on social media.

The court found Zaki Bani Irshid guilty of souring ties with a foreign country, the Reuters and Turkey’s semi-official Anatolia news agencies reported.

According to Anatolia, the court said that an original three-year jail sentence against Irshid was reduced to 18 months.

Irshid’s lawyer, Saleh al-Armouti, had told Anatolia in a past interview that his client’s trial was “politically driven”.

Irshid, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, had criticised the UAE for designating the movement as a terrorist group.

He was arrested in November after writing that the UAE’s rulers lacked popular legitimacy and served Israeli interests by playing a leading role in a crackdown on political Islam.

Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s biggest opposition party, has operated legally for decades and has substantial grassroots support.

It has ideological ties with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which Egyptian authorities banned in December 2013, but the two groups are not directly affiliated.

Human rights activists had criticised Irshid’s arrest, saying the authorities were eroding freedom of expression and putting dissidents on trial in courts they described as unconstitutional.

Source: News Agencies