EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 16/09/96
13 November 1996
Further information on UA 277/95 (MDE 16/05/95, 29 December 1995) - Legal Concern
/ Possible prisoner of conscience
JORDANLeith Shubeilat, head of the Engineers' Union
Leith Shubeilat, the head of the Engineers' Union, was freed under a special
amnesty on 8 November 1996.
Leith Shubeilat had been arrested on 9 December 1995 and been charged with
lèse majesté against King Hussein bin Talal. He had condemned King Hussein's
words of praise and expressions of friendship for Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime
Minister of Israel, assassinated on 4 November 1995. Leith Shubeilat was brought
to trial before the State Security Court and sentenced to three years'
imprisonment in March 1996. This sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation
On 8 November King Hussein bin Talal drove to Swaqa Prison, 80 kilometres south
of Amman and personally informed Leith Shubeilat of his release. He was informed
that 200 other prisoners, including political prisoners, would also be freed
by amnesty. King Hussein then drove Leith Shubeilat back to his mother's house
Amnesty International welcomes the release of Leith Shubeilat. The organization
considered him to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely because of his
opposition to the peace agreement with Israel and his other peaceful political
On 12 November King Hussein sent a letter to the Prime Minister ordering that
charges be dropped against 253 people facing trial after riots against rises
in the price of bread in August. The King's amnesty was said to extend to
other prisoners not considered a threat to public security or whose term already
served was considered sufficient punishment.
The list of those included in the amnesty is apparently being drawn up by the
Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English or in your own language:
- welcoming the release of prisoner of conscience Leith Shubeilat;
- urging that the announced amnesty include all other prisoners held solely
for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously-held beliefs.
1) His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal
King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
The Royal Palace
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Telegrams: King Hussein, Amman, Jordan
Salutation: Your Majesty
2) His Excellency 'Abd al-Karim Kabariti