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Sometimes People Fight Back: 
Amer Jubran Names His Torturers

By Lana Habash | CounterPunch | October 16, 2015

When Amer Jubran reported that he had been tortured by Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate (Jordan’s secret police or mukhabarat) while in detention in Jordan in 2014, no one was surprised. For years, human rights groups have cited the Jordanian government’s abysmal human rights record. Violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which Jordan is a signatory, have continued with impunity at every level of what is supposed to be Jordan’s “justice system.”

Amer Jubran is a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian descent. He is an internationally known activist and speaker who has written about the rights of Palestinians and against unjust policies of the US and Israel in the Arab world. The Jordanian government violently arrested and detained Jubran in May, 2014 and he was later sentenced to ten years in prison in July, 2015. His verdict and sentence are currently being appealed in Jordan’s Court of Cassation. Amer Jubran’s experiences as a political prisoner highlight the human rights abuses for which Jordan is best known:

1) Arrest without a warrant;

2) Incommunicado detention for 2 months;

3) No access to legal counsel for at least 2 months while in detention;

4) Torture including forced stress positions, sleep deprivation, beatings, 72 to 120 hour interrogation sessions, and threats to family members;

5) Forced confessions obtained through torture that the defendant was not even permitted to read before signing;

6) Charges that include “committing acts that threaten to harm relations with a foreign government” based on a law promulgated one month after his arrest and that effectively criminalizes speech or any expression of protest directed at a foreign government;

7) A trial in Jordan’s State Security Court, a military tribunal with no judicial independence (the UN  has called for its abolition since 1994); and

8) The State Security Court ruling on July 29, 2015 which states openly that the Court is “not obliged to discuss defense’s evidence presented by defense attorneys since accepting prosecution’s evidence automatically implies rejection of defense’s evidence” and relies solely on the forced confessions obtained through torture that Jubran and all his co-defendants recanted during trial.

What is disturbing is that Jubran’s case is not the exception, but rather the rule in Jordan’s State Security Court system.  Inès Osman, Legal Officer at Alkarama Foundation states, “The Jordanian special courts continue to rely heavily on confessions extracted under torture, which, added to their lack of independence, often leads to the arbitrary sentencing of people like Amer.”

But this is not just the story of Jordanian prisoners either. It is the story of the thousands of Arabs and Muslims who continue to be detained illegally by proxy governments of the US and Israel, for the US and Israel.

The involvement of foreign governments in Jubran’s detention is not mere speculation. Jubran was told by his GID interrogators that the outcome of his arrest and detention would be determined by the GID’s “American and Israeli friends.” During his interrogation, Jubran was questioned about his friends in the US, and when Jubran asked why, he was told that the information was for the GID and their “friends in the States.” Even the nature of the charges that Jubran finally received months after he was arrested points to an arrest at the behest of foreign governments. A review of Jubran’s activism and writing clearly show that his efforts were not directed at Jordan’s king or the Jordanian government and certainly involved no threat to the people of Jordan. Jubran’s charges involved alleged threats to only two entities: the US and Israel. The charges included “planning attacks” on American soldiers in Jordan (although the Jordanian government had denied the presence of American soldiers in Jordan during the alleged period) and affiliation with Hizballah, an organization that poses no direct threat to Jordanian citizens or the royal family, but is the only organization that poses a threat to American and Israeli interests in the region. Though Jubran has expressed his respect for Hizballah, he denies any affiliation and has stated that all the charges against him are false.

What is compelling about Jubran’s case is that he knows the names of those who tortured him. And the reason Jubran knows those names underlines the absolute confidence that the Jordanian government has in the State Security Court to act as a rubber stamp for the government’s agenda. There is not even the need for the pretense of a fair system. Coerced confessions of different co-defendants carried identical phrasing and were literally edited several times throughout the course of the trial to serve the needs of the prosecution. Jubran discovered the names of his torturers because they were the first five witnesses for the prosecution. In a recent statement by Jubran on October 10, 2015, he names two of the torturers: Colonel Habes Rizk (who threatened Jubran with being disappeared) and Captain Motaz Ahmad Abdurrahman (who threatened to assault Jubran’s wife to get Jubran to cooperate and also physically tortured Jubran). (See transcript of Jubran’s October 10th statement here).

Impunity for torturers is dependent on a system that permits those who torture to remain anonymous. Though it may benefit repressive regimes to advertise what can happen to you if you are criminalized, it certainly doesn’t benefit those regimes for the names of those doing the dirty work  to be common knowledge. Anonymity is the main source of protection for those who torture. It is what permits them to “dissolve into the mist of the system.” (St. Clair, When Torturers Walk, Counterpunch, March, 2015 ). But the Jordanian government’s hubris in the trial of Amer Jubran threw a wrench into their own plans. The government was so confident in its ability to intimidate that they saw no risk in having the torturers testify at the trial. They didn’t calculate on Jubran naming them publicly.

Sometimes people fight back.

Jubran has taken great personal risks to expose Captain Adurrahman and Colonel Rizk, and Jubran has already experienced retaliation within the prison for speaking out. It is our job as those not held captive by Jordan’s penal system, to demand and assure that Jubran at long last receives justice, and that the people responsible for his torture be held accountable for their crimes. As long as the torturers can still do their jobs with impunity, the Jordanian government will continue to play a central role in the US and Israel’s geopolitical agenda for the region– playing the henchman to oppress their own people.

More details about the case of Amer Jubran can be found at .

Lana Habash is a Palestinian physician living in Boston, MA. She can be reached at

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update on Amer Jubran Case: Torture and Denial of Justice

Urgent Action for Amer Jubran Mon 10/5

Members of the Amer Jubran Defense Campaign have recently received trial documents revealing severe human rights violations at every stage in the arrest, trial, and sentencing of Amer Jubran and his co-defendants. Most importantly, the documents show that the defendants were forced to sign prefabricated confessions under torture from agents of the General Intelligence Directorate. According to testimony the defendants submitted at trial, they were not even allowed to read these statements before being forced to sign them.

Methods of torture enumerated in a brief filed by defense attorneys include sleep deprivation, routine and constant humiliation, threats of violence against members of the defendants’ families, physical beatings, and prolonged stress positions. One defendant with a life-threatening illness was denied medication unless he agreed to sign.

The defendants contested these fabricated confessions at trial. In its decision, the State Security Court nevertheless stated that it was not required to consider the defendants’ testimony or any of the defense’s evidence, and used the forced confessions as the primary basis for its ruling.

The confessions that formed the basis for the court ruling  defy all credibility. In Amer’s case, we are to believe that a full confession to all the facts in the trial was made voluntarily on May 6, 2014–less than 24 hours after his arrest. (He nevertheless continued to be held for close to two months in incommunicado detention.) According to the GID officer who provided the document, the confession was made without any interrogation, as a simple answer to the question: “Tell us what occurred with you.” A similar procedure was supposedly followed with the other defendants, all of whom confessed to the same facts in statements that frequently used identical language to describe the same events, referring in some cases to events that allegedly took place ten years earlier.

That such confessions should be submitted to the court and accepted by it without question suggests that the use of confessions obtained through torture has become so routine in Jordan–and takes place within such an atmosphere of impunity–that no serious attempt has been made to conceal the fact.

Amer’s case is now in appeal before Jordan’s Court of Cassation (i.e., its Supreme Court). A decision is likely to be issued within the next 1-2 weeks. International pressure at this moment is key, since it is the last opportunity under ordinary procedures in which the unjust decision in this case can be reversed.

Amer has also made us aware that he is concerned about the possibility of retaliatory measures being taken against him in prison–including transfer to a facility with prisoners who have been charged with membership in organizations such as Al-Qaeda, who would have a hostile relationship to a prisoner charged with affiliation with Hizballah. This is further reason to make the Jordanian government aware that people around the world are watching.

Action Call: E-mail Campaign on Monday, October 5:

We are asking Amer’s supporters and all who care about fundamental human rights, to direct e-mails calling for urgent intervention in Amer’s case on Monday, October 5, to:

Minister of Justice, Bassam Talhouni: .

Please cc’ the following:

Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Abdullah Ensour,
Minister of Interior, Salamah Hammad,

Or you can send an e-mail automatically by through the website of the Samidoun Network of Support for Political Prisoners:

A sample letter, an open letter from the Amer Jubran Defense Campaign, and more details regarding the human rights violations in Amer’s case are included below.

In addition to torture, some of the other violations of elementary rights to due process and to fair trial included the following:

1) No warrant was presented at the time of his arrest.

2) Amer and other defendants were denied access to lawyers after their arrest. They were specifically threatened with torture if they requested the presence of lawyers when they were ultimately brought before the Public Prosecutor.

3) Defense attorneys at trial were not allowed to summon for questioning GID officers involved in the arrests, in the seizure of evidence, in interrogation, and in drawing up the arrest records. They were thus deprived of their ability to demonstrate that the confessions were false and to contest material evidence used in the trial.

4) Defense attorneys were not allowed to call expert witnesses concerning key issues at stake in the use of material evidence (such as computer forensics) or to request intelligence central to the charges in the trial.


Sample Letter:

Dear Minister of Justice Bassam Talhouni,

I am writing to call your attention to the severe miscarriage of justice against Amer Jubran, a Jordanian citizen who currently has a case before Jordan’s Court of Cassation.

⦁  Mr. Jubran was arrested on May 5, 2014 by agents of the General Intelligence Directorate and held in incommunicado detention for close to two months. No warrant was presented at the time of his arrest. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sent an urgent appeal on his behalf to your government at that time: See

⦁  During his period in GID detention, Mr. Jubran and six other defendants in the same case were subjected to prolonged periods of torture, including sleep deprivation, beatings, stress positions, and threats of violence against their families. Under these conditions they were forced to sign false confessions to planning a series of “terrorist” actions–confessions  they were not even allowed to read before signing them.

⦁  On July 29, 2015, Mr. Jubran was sentenced by Jordan’s State Security Court to 10 years in prison with hard labor. The Court refused to consider the defense evidence in the case, and used the fabricated confessions as the basis for its decision.

Global human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Al Karama Foundation have condemned the prevalence of torture in Jordan by the General Intelligence Directorate. The lack of independence of State Security Court from the GID and its failure to condemn torture and other fundamental human rights violations by GID agents have been specifically cited as a reason for the persistence of torture in security cases in Jordan. The United Nations Committee Against Torture, and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have repeatedly called for the abolition of the State Security Court.

I am writing now to urge that you take all necessary action in the case of Amer Jubran to see that his appeal before the Court of Cassation receives full and independent review. The severe violations of human rights in his case must be condemned and the unjust sentence reversed.



Letter from the Amer Jubran Defense Campaign:

Dear Minister of Justice,

We urgently call your attention to the case of Amer Jubran and his horrendous treatment at the hands of the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate. Mr. Jubran currently has a case before the Court of Cassation for severe violations of legal process in his arrest, interrogation and trial.

Mr. Jubran was violently arrested in May of 2014 and no crimes were specified at that time. He spent 50 days in a secret detention facility where he was unable to see his lawyer or family. According to the defendants’ testimony at trial, he and six other defendants were repeatedly tortured in this facility. They were forced by torture to sign identical  statements that had been prepared in advance by the interrogators–statements they were not even allowed to read before signing them. The torture, led by Colonel Habes Rizk, involved 72 hour periods of sleep deprivation, being forced under cold water, being forcibly revived after fainting, threats, beatings, face-slapping, insults, and humiliation. The intelligence officers threatened to bring Mr. Jubran’s parents, wife, and children into the interrogation. They threatened to assault Mr. Jubran’s wife in front of him  in order to force co-operation. Pressure was applied to his shoulder and neck and to his legs for prolonged periods to cause pain. Critical medication and transfer to a hospital was withheld from one defendant suffering from hepatitis and liver disease until such time as he signed his statement. Lawyers were not allowed to see their clients during the entire period of interrogation.

It’s only after this lengthy period of incommunicado detention and torture that charges of “terrorism” were ultimately brought against him.

At the end of Mr. Jubran’s trial in August 2015 the judges of the State Security Court completely ignored a thorough defense by his lawyers, declaring all evidence brought by the defense irrelevant. The Court then sentenced Mr. Jubran to  ten years in prison with hard labor.

International human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations Committee Against Torture, and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have been clear in condemning the atmosphere of impunity in Jordan, especially in cases before the State Security Court involving torture by agents of the General Intelligence Directorate.

The actions of the GID, the State Prosecutor and the State Security Court in Mr. Jubran’s arrest, detention and trial violate the most basic standards of international human rights, including protection from torture and the right to a fair trial before an impartial court. It is clear from his case that these agencies are confident that their activities will not be called into question, that they can get away with any and all violations of the rights of Jordanian citizens.

We ask you to demonstrate that this is not so, and to intervene on Mr. Jubran’s behalf. The current appeal is perhaps the only opportunity left for responsible officials in Jordan to reverse this gross violation of Mr. Jubran’s legal and human rights. Amer Jubran has friends and supporters from all over the world who will be watching for your response.


The Amer Jubran Defense Campaign

(En Español)

October 3, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Statement from Palestinian Activist Amer Jubran on Being Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison by Jordan’s State Security Court

Amer Jubran Defense Campaign

On Wednesday, July 29, Amer Jubran was sentenced by Jordan’s State Security Court along with 8 other defendants. The rest of the defendants were given sentences of 2-3 years; for his refusal to cooperate, he was singled out for excessive punishment, and given a 15 year sentence (reduced by his lawyers to 10 years). The verdict comes after 15 months in detention–the first 3 months without charges.

He was able to get a call out of the prison where he is being held in Jordan to make a statement about his trial and sentencing. An audio recording is available at the following link:

We include a full transcript below:

“Last Wednesday on July 29, 2015, I was issued a verdict of 15 years in prison which was reduced to 10 years later. This verdict was issued by a military court, a martial tribunal court made of three judges. The trial lasted for about 1 year and over thirty sessions, through which my legal defense team has proven beyond doubt false charges of terrorism. There were 10 charges and our defense amounted to zero effect on the outcome of that trial, as I was given a maximum punishment, while everybody else in the group were given 2-3 year sentences. It is clear that I am being targeted as a person, and such decisions had completely put aside law and justice and replaced that with politics and vengeance.

During the interrogation period, I was told by the GID that any decision made about me is involving (quote) ‘our American and Israeli friends’ (end-quote). All started when I refused to be a sell-out and work against the Lebanese resistance. I was told then that I will be sent behind the sun for such a refusal. And frankly it is very easy for me to disappear behind the sun rather than to be well outside but a sell-out and traitor.

Please use this information to spread to everyone among our activist media who are interested. Especially media that is pro-resistance in Lebanon. And anybody you think is worthy to take this information to. Also please tell my love and my respect to everybody who stood by me among our friends and brothers and sisters where you are. And I thank you deeply from my heart and please do not forget Palestine.”


In conversation, Amer further clarified that all 10 of the original charges were disproved by his defense team, but a new charge was manufactured at the time of the verdict. He also clarified that his refusal to be a “sell-out and work against the Lebanese resistance” was a refusal to work as an infiltrator and informant.

We are releasing this statement along with a call for activists to renew pressure on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, demanding an independent review of Amer’s trial and the flagrant violations of human rights involved in his imprisonment. It is now 13 months since our initial open letter to the High Commissioner–an appeal that is still unanswered. (For the text of our letter, see: ).

It has been clear from the outset that Amer was targeted for his activism and political speech on behalf of Palestine. The lengthy proceedings before the State Security Court were a sham trial, before a court with no political independence, acting as a rubber-stamp for the GID (General Intelligence Directorate).

Amer’s statement confirms what many of us have suspected from the beginning: his arrest and detention–and now his sentencing to 10 years of imprisonment–have taken place in coordination with the US and Israel.

Please take the time to forward Amer’s statement. You can support justice for Amer by sending letters, faxes and e-mails over the next week (8/5/15-8/12/2015) addressed to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein at the following address:

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: (41 22) 917 0008 (If faxing from US: 011-41-22-917-0008)

And please cc the following:

Prime Minister and Defense Minister
Abdullah Ensour
Fax number 962-6-464-2520 (If faxing from US: 011-962-6-464-2520)

Minister of Interior
Salamah Hammad
Fax number 962-6-560-6908 (If faxing from US: 011-962-6-560-6908)

Minister of Justice
Bassam Talhouni
Fax number 962-6-464-3197 If faxing from US: 011-962-6-464-3197)


Our open letter is below:

Open Letter to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
August 3, 2015

Dear UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein:

We wrote to you in July of 2014 to ask you to intervene in the case Amer Jubran of Jordan.* Mr. Jubran at that time had been detained for two months without charges, and you, at that time, were the UN High Commissioner-Elect. Now you occupy that office, and Mr. Jubran has been convicted. On July 29, 2015 he was sentenced by the Jordanian State Security Court, a military tribunal, to ten years in prison on charges of terrorism. These charges were proven false by Mr. Jubran’s defense team, but a decision was made against him nevertheless.

We saw no sign that you acted to intervene in this case in 2014. Perhaps if you had this sham trial would not have proceeded. But now that it has come to its predictable conclusion we ask you again to intervene to question why such a harsh sentence could be handed down without evidence of any crime. As High Commissioner for Human Rights we believe it is your responsibility to act to review this case. Amer Jubran is an internationally known activist, speaker, and writer on Palestinian human rights, and a critic of US and Israeli policies in the Arab world. These are the reasons he was targeted, not for terrorism. Though Jordan is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the human rights violations of its General Intelligence Directorate and State Security Court  are well known. This is a problem that, as a Jordanian and as Human Rights Commissioner, you have every reason to be concerned about. The unjust sentence against Amer Jubran should be overturned immediately.

We look forward to your response.


The Amer Jubran Defense Campaign

*See our previous letter at


Prime Minister and Defense Minister
Abdullah Ensour, e-mail:
Fax number 011-962-6-464-2520

Minister of Interior: Salamah Hammad, e-mail:
Fax number 011-962-6-560-6908

Minister of Justice Bassam Talhouni, e-mail:
Fax number 011-962-6-464-3197


Amer Jubran Defense Campaign |

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 2 Comments

We Demand Justice for Amer Jubran

Amer Jubran Defense Campaign | July 8, 2014

Amer Jubran has now been detained for over 2 months without charge. Until last week, he was being held incommunicado. Because Amer is a political dissident, we are gravely concerned that he may be tried with serious offenses based on his political speech under Jordan’s legal framework. If so, he would be brought before the State Security Court in Jordan soon. The State Security Court is an institution that has been widely criticized by human rights advocates as a tribunal that lacks any real judicial independence from the Mukhabarat (Jordanian Secret Police).

Today, we sent an open letter to the recently elected UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein of Jordan demanding that he address the atrocious human rights abuses in Jordan, citing Amer’s case.

We are asking all supporters to take action on Wednesday July 9th.

Please take a few minutes to do the following on July 9th:

1) Please forward the open letter to Prince Zeid to all your contacts/lists and post to Facebook;

2) Please write your own letter reiterating the points in the open letter (see below) and e-mail your letter  to:

***Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner-Elect for Human Rights

***Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour  e-mail:

***Minister of Interior, Hussein Majali  e-mail:

***Minister of Justice, Bassam Talhouni   e-mail:

3) Please encourage your contacts to sign the petition to free Amer Jubran if they have not signed it already

Amer has always fought for justice. He needs your help now!

Please follow the action steps above on Wed July 9th and let us know if you receive any reply.
Thank you again for your continued support.


July 8, 2014

To UN High Commissioner-Elect for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein:

In light of your recent confirmation as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, we are writing now to urge you to turn your attention to your own country, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and its atrocious history of human rights abuses.

The current case of Amer Jubran highlights Jordan’s ongoing contempt for the most basic international standards of civil and political rights. Mr. Jubran, a Jordanian citizen, was arrested at his home on May 5, 2014 by agents of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID) and continues to be detained without charges. For the first seven weeks of his detention, he was held incommunicado, without access to a lawyer or family. The international human rights organization Alkarama recently filed his case with the UN as an instance of arbitrary detention ( ).

Mr. Jubran is an internationally known activist, speaker, and writer on Palestinian human rights and a critic of US and Israeli policies in the Arab world. All who know him and are familiar with his history recognize his arrest as a politically motivated silencing. We are therefore concerned that the amendments to Jordan’s “anti-terrorism” laws passed on June 1st criminalizing new categories of speech as “terrorism” may be applied in Mr. Jubran’s case. The legislation itself demonstrates the willingness of the Jordanian regime to exploit the label “terrorism” to further limit free speech, especially speech that is critical of the existing system of cooperation between Jordan, Israel and the United States. (See statement from Reporters without Borders:,46423.html  )

We further call attention to the use of the State Security Court as an instrument for political repression. As a direct extension of the executive branch of government, the State Security Court violates all standards of judicial independence. It is a rubber stamp for arrests and detentions carried out by the GID, which has a well-documented history of arbitrary detention and torture to silence political opposition ( The collaboration between the GID and the State Security Court in human rights abuses has been specifically cited by Alkarama: “The methods of torture most commonly employed by GID officers are beatings, beatings with cables, ropes, plastic pipes, whips etc all over the body including the soles of the feet (falaqa), stress positions, sleep deprivation, injections that cause states of extreme anxiety, humiliation, threats of rape against the victim and members of his family, electroshock, prolonged isolation, etc. Abuse is more prevalent in the GID due to its close collaboration with the judges of the State Security Court. Incommunicado detention, which is itself a form of mental torture, is routinely extended for undetermined amounts of time.” (

In your acceptance speech at your confirmation as the UN High Commissioner by the General Assembly in June, you spoke of the commitment to push forward the issue of human rights on the Asian continent. Such a commitment can only be taken seriously if you are willing to begin at home. We ask you to stand behind your words by demanding the release of Amer Jubran from his unjust imprisonment by unaccountable agencies within the state of Jordan, and to use your position to end extensive human rights violations carried out by the GID and the State Security Court.


The Amer Jubran Defense Campaign
National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Subcommittee
Defending Dissent Foundation

cc:  Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour (Jordan)
Minister of Interior Hussein Majali (Jordan)
Minister of Justice Bassam Talhouni (Jordan)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

July 8, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment