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Journalists Ajlouni, Hmouz released following short detention

By Rana Husseini - May 20,2019 - Last updated at May 20,2019

AMMAN — Journalists Mohammad Ajlouni and Rana Hmouz were released on Sunday from detention over a programme that criticised a security commander.

Jordan Press Association member Khaled Qudah confirmed the journalists' release. 

Meanwhile, journalists and activists condemned the detention of Ajlouni, owner and CEO of Arab Broadcast Services, which runs Jordan Today TV, and Hmouz. 

Gendarmerie Director Maj. Gen. Hussein Hawatmeh lodged a complaint against Mohammad Ajlouni and Hmouz.

Both were ordered to be detained by the Amman prosecutor for one week over the charges levelled against them, included slander and defamation.

Qudah condemned the arrests earlier on Sunday, saying that the “syndicate was closely following the developments of the case”.

“We are against any prior arrests and imprisonment of journalists and media professionals for press and publications-related charges,” Qudah told The Jordan Times.

Hmouz appeared in a two-minute clip criticising Hawatmeh for his “remarks during an interview with Al Mamlaka TV regarding a recent protest by retired army officers”.

Hmouz, who used some clips from Hawatmeh’s interview, reportedly criticised him saying that “retired army officers have the right to protest and express themselves”.

Meanwhile, the Centre of Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) issued a statement on Sunday condemning the arrest of the two journalists and demanded their immediate release.

“The journalists’ arrest is a punishment that does not comply with the international standards of press freedoms,” the CDFJ statement said.

Executive President of CDFJ Nidal Mansour told The Jordan Times that the press “has the right to criticise the work of all officials and this is their duty”.

“The criticism is directed at the post of the official and it is not personal criticism... this is the role and duty of the press,” Mansour reaffirmed.

The CDFJ director added: “We are strongly against the detention of any journalist, and their detention is obviously a prior punishment, before the judiciary even gives a ruling in the case.”

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