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Publisher of news website detained after photo posted of Last Supper

By Mohammad Ghazal - Dec 11,2018 - Last updated at Dec 11,2018

AMMAN — The Amman prosecutor general on Monday ordered the detention of Mohammad Al Wakeel, publisher of a news website, after he posted a picture on Facebook depicting the Last Supper, which was deemed offensive.

The prosecutor general also ordered the detention of an editor working for the website.

Al Wakeel News immediately removed the picture and published a statement apologising and saying the post was a mistake by one of its employees.

“We did not mean any harm to our Christian brothers, and stress that the person who published the post was not aware of the content of the picture,” the website said in the statement.

“Hurting the feelings of others is not freedom of expression,” Rakan Saaydeh, president of the Jordan Press Association, told The Jordan Times (JPA), adding that the organisation did not agree with detention in cases of freedom of expression.  

“Al Wakeel is not a member of the JPA and the picture was shared on social media, not via a media outlet,” said Saaydeh.

Khaled Al Qudah, a member of the JPA council and an expert in media law, said he rejected the detention of Al Wakeel and the female editor as no court has ruled on the issue yet.

“They cannot escape from Jordan, cannot tamper with the evidence and cannot change the testimonies of eye witnesses as this is a crime that occurred on social media, and evidence can be traced easily,” said Qudah.

He added that, “therefore, there is no point in detaining them and the pre-trial detention is a punishment and rejected. Detention is to be decided by the judicial authorities after a fair trial”.

“As we defend freedom of expression, we also defend every person’s right to resort to court if he or she feels offended due to a post or an opinion,” he told The Jordan Times on Monday.

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