Yeah, right. And this is the “enlightened” “kingdom” of Jordan:
A court in Jordan jailed the deputy head of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday for publicly criticizing the United Arab Emirates, in a verdict his lawyer described as illegal and an attack on free speech. The military court sentenced Zaki Bani Rushaid to 18 months in prison after convicting him of souring ties with a foreign country, a judicial source said.
He is the most high-profile political figure in decades to be imprisoned in Jordan, a U.S. ally that has so far been spared the turmoil that has spread across much of the Middle East following the Arab Spring revolts.
Convicted of “souring ties with a foreign country”? Here’s the beef:
Bani Rushaid was arrested in November after criticizing the UAE on social media for designating the Brotherhood, which is Jordan’s biggest opposition party, as a terrorist group and thereby serving Israeli interests. His arrest was condemned by rights groups. The UAE is one of Jordan’s main financial backers and the two countries are close political allies, both participating in U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
Hard to tell the players without a scorecard in the part of the world…
Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has substantial grassroots support, said in a statement the verdict “represses freedoms and confiscates the rights of individuals and is proof of the regime’s retreat from (political) reforms.” The organization has ideological ties with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which Cairo authorities banned in December 2013, but the two groups are not directly affiliated.
… but, like whatever.