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12 charged with online abuse of Istanbul victims

By JT - Jan 05,2017 - Last updated at Jan 05,2017

AMMAN — Twelve people are to be prosecuted for alleged online abuse directed at the Jordanian victims of the Istanbul nightclub attack on New Year's Eve, a security source said on Thursday, as security and intelligence agencies continue to investigate potentially criminal social media posts. 

Meanwhile, the government is mulling a law to curb hate speech on social media, a senior official said.

Investigators have traced several social media accounts and detained their owners for comments that "disgrace and abuse people", the source said, in violation of Article 11 of the Cyber Crimes Law, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Initially, 16 people were investigated, with 12 subsequently referred to the State Security Court’s prosecutor general. The attorney ordered their detention, and then sent them for further judicial investigation, the source told Petra on Thursday.

Alleged offences included incitement of hatred, division and abusing the victims and their families, and expressing support for the attack, in a way that violates all religions, laws and social norms, according to the source.

Two Jordanians died and six were injured in the attack at Istanbul’s Reina restaurant and club, when a gunman opened fire on the crowd, killing at least 39 people and injuring dozens more.

As Jordanian society sees an increase in online abuse which incites hatred, those responsible will be traced, the security source stressed.

The authorities will not hesitate to apply the full force of the law against those responsible, he said, adding that such offences will not be allowed to reoccur. 

However, the government may tailor a law specifically to fight hate speech, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani told EU delegates visiting Amman Thursday, Petra reported.


The minister said that the government is working to formulate a law on social media in order to ensure these platforms are not used to spread hate speech and cause discord in the community, especially through rumours. He did not elaborate.  

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