Reports of torture and other ill-treatment persisted and members of the security forces continued to enjoy impunity. Trials before the State Security Court (SSC) continued to breach international fair trial standards. Dozens of people were arrested for security offences and thousands of others were held without charge or prospect of trial. Freedoms of expression, association and assembly continued to be restricted. The authorities arbitrarily withdrew Jordanian nationality from some citizens of Palestinian origin. Migrant domestic workers continued to be exploited and abused. Women faced legal and other discrimination and, despite a legal change to protect them from violence, at least 15 women were reported to have been victims of so-called honour killings. Nine people were sentenced to death; no executions were carried out.
The government passed temporary laws in the absence of parliament which remained suspended by order of the King until new elections were held on 9 November. These were boycotted by several political parties, including the main opposition Islamic Action Front, who complained that the electoral system was insufficiently representative and was weighted in favour of rural areas compared to the cities where citizens of Palestinian origin predominate. Most of the seats in the parliament inaugurated on 29 November were held by members of tribes loyal to the King.Top of page
Reports of torture and other ill-treatment of security detainees and criminal suspects continued. The authorities failed to institute adequate legal and other safeguards against such abuses.
In May, the UN Committee against Torture reiterated long-standing concerns at Jordan’s failure to investigate and prosecute allegations of torture, to provide adequate protection against torture, and to prosecute perpetrators in accordance with the seriousness of the crime. It noted the “numerous, consistent and credible allegations of a widespread and routine practice of torture and ill-treatment” including in General Intelligence Department (GID) and Criminal Investigations Department detention. The government did not respond to the Committee’s recommendations.
Dozens of people accused of state security offences faced unfair trials before the SSC. In October the UN Human Rights Committee reiterated its recommendation that the authorities consider abolishing the SSC.
According to the Jordanian National Centre for Human Rights, during the first six months of 2010, 6,965 people were held under the 1954 Law on Crime Prevention, which provides provincial governors with powers to detain indefinitely without charge anyone suspected of committing a crime or considered a “danger to society”.
Journalists and others who criticized the government or participated in peaceful protests were arrested and, in some case, prosecuted. Arrests increased in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in November when tens of people were briefly detained for objecting to the electoral system.
The authorities continued arbitrarily to withdraw Jordanian nationality from citizens of Palestinian descent. Hundreds of thousands of people of Palestinian origin are recognized as Jordanian citizens. Those whose nationality was withdrawn had few means to challenge the decision and were effectively made stateless and denied access to health care and education facilities.Top of page
Regulations introduced in 2009 to protect migrant domestic workers from exploitation and physical and psychological abuse in the workplace were, in the main, not implemented. TAMKEEN, an organization offering legal assistance to domestic migrant workers, reported in May that it had received 290 complaints of unpaid salaries, passport confiscation and poor working conditions from “guest workers” in the previous 12 months.Top of page
Women continued to be victims of “honour” killings, with at least 15 such cases reported. The government introduced temporary amendments to the Penal Code to prevent leniency in sentencing men convicted of killing female relatives in the name of family “honour”, including to Article 98 which allows reduced sentences for those who kill in a “fit of rage caused by an unlawful or dangerous act on the part of the victim”. However, the Court of Cassation sent two such cases back to the Criminal Court for it to consider reducing the sentences in accordance with Article 98.
Temporary amendments to the Personal Status Law failed to address adequately discrimination against women, including by failing to ensure sex-equality in joint financial or property settlements following divorce. The amendments raised the minimum marriage age for girls to 18, but allow exceptions so that in some cases girls as young as 15 can marry.Top of page
Nine people were sentenced to death in 2010, according to Amnesty International’s sources; the Justice Minister said the total was six. Amendments to the Penal Code reduced the number of capital offences. In March, the Justice Minister announced that the crime of rape may cease to be a capital offence. No executions were carried out.
In December, Jordan abstained on a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.Top of page