Dear Sir, Madam(Amnesty International, Human rights).
Below is a chilling description of what Dr. Bustani has witnessed in the
Jordanian jails system. Dr. Bustani is a well respected human rights
activist who was unlawfully detained for 5 days.
This is just a small example of the daily oppression,humiliation and
undemocratic actions against the Jordanian people. The Police behavior
described by Dr. Bustani is not the exception rather itis the norm.
This happens in a country where it's regime tries to deceive the world with
empty rhetoric about democracy and human rights.
Hundreds of people are in jail at the moment, many without trial or charges
laid. Representatives of all Jordanian society are detained such as ordinary
people, journalists, writers, poets and opposition figures. Toujan Faisal
ex-MP is on trial now, for daring to write a letter to the king exposing the
undemocratic behavior in a country with a parliament and judicial system
chosen by means aimed at tailoring them to suit the government.
The so called "governor" in Jordan has wide authority to detain people
without charges for long period of time. Gogernors in Jordan are not elected
but appointed by the government. The governors role(The equivalent of a
mayor position in the western system) is being politicised by the regime,
and governors are granted wide authority for reasons not related to the
daily run of their cities and towns.
Consecutive governments in Jordan, and in particular the current one, have
been using the authority of those appointed puppets to detain people against
whom they have little or no evidence of violating the law, in an attempt to
destin or hide the government's role in ordering the arrest and detention of
those people.Dr.H. Bustani experience is a classic exampl.
I urge Amnesty International and Human watch to investigate the barbaric
treatment of detainees in all Jordanian jails. I am not talking about
investigating mistreatment of political and/or conscience prisoners but also
prisoners who committed criminal offenses. People are sent to prisons(if
guilty) as a punishment NOT for punishment.
Dr. Rami HASANAT
P.s Below is Dr. Bustani's account of his own experience.
Inside Hell: 5 Days in Al-Jweideh Prison
By: Dr. Hisham Bustani- Liberties Committee of the UPA
Monday, April 22, 2002
+ ACT NOW. Keep us informed of your action at:
+The following may shock you, but it is what I witnessed personally in my
detention in Al-Jweideh Prison. All names are withheld so as not to cause
prisoner any harm.
Evening of Tuesday, April 9, 2002
Inside the Union of Professional Associations (UPA) Complex in Amman, a
activists (including myself and Engineer Shadi Mdanat) were discussing the
of tear-gas bombs and their effect on human health (especially in crowded
where gas always leaks into houses).
Inside my bag was an empty (used) tear-gas canister with the following
engravred in its bottom side: 10 79. The discussion was oriented around
numbers that, as we presumed, represented the date of manufacture of this
particular canister that was collected from a recent demonstration scene in
Amman. The discussion also tackled the adverse effects of using expired
or (as was stated on another canister) "Multi-Irritant" agents.
The discussion was brought up since there were many complaints conveyed to
organizations and committees working in the fields of liberties and human
that "expired gas canisters" are being regularly used against demostrators.
These complaints made the Jordan Society for Citizen Rights (JSCR) send a
to the Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Al-Ragheb on April 6, 2002 saying:
JCSR has received with great concern many complaints regarding the use of
expired tear gas bombs by security forces, which results in damaging
side-effects on human health, this requires from you an immediate
and punishment of those who are responsible for these acts".
Once I was out of the complex accompanied by Engineer Shadi Mdanat, tow
from Preventive Security followed us and called me by name: "Dr. Hisham...,
Hisham..". When I looked back, they asked me to give them the empty
refused, so one of them went and came back with the officer in charge. The
latter asked to search my handbag. I told him he cannot do this unless he
me a search warrant. He laughed, and after some discussion, he ordered that
be taken to the quarters of Preventive Security in Abdali. There, the
was taken from me and searched thoroughly, the empty canister, a video film
Sabra and Chatilla massacre, and some documents were confiscated.
We were then referred to questioning. We refused this procedure, asked for a
lawyer and refused to sign any statement. We were not told about the charge
they arrested us upon, nor were we allowed access to a lawyer or a phone.
my stay in the Preventive Security quarters I saw across the corridor in
interrogation room the questioning of a boy (whom I met later in detention)
was accused of "burning a bus during demonstrations" (I later knew that this
accusation is a cliché for anyone who is picked up from the street: "You
the bus", "You broke the traffic light", "You broke the glass of the
etc). The boy who was beaten up badly in Al-Naser police station, had a
fire-red face with straight-line bulges on the neck (probably due to hits
water hose or a cable). When he told his interrogator that he signed a
confession in the police station under torture and began showing him the
on his body, he was slapped on the face 4 or five times. This boy told me
his "crime" was walking alone on his way home, when 3 civilian-dressed
approached him and started beating him and telling him that he "burned the
After a 2-hour wait in Preventive Security, we were transferred to the
the Main Police Station in Al-Abdali were we spent our night.
The State Security Court
Mourning of Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Around 11:30 am, Engineer Shadi Mdanat and myself were transported alone in
prison truck to Marka. We understood from the officers accompanying us that
were referred to the State Security Court on the charge of "distributing
that are harmful to the state's reputation". Until now, we were denied
contacting anyone, and we were NOT officially told what our charges are.
The State Security Court Prosecutor refused the case. So we were taken back
the police station. From there, we were taken to the Governor's office who
ordered that we be detained for 14 days. We were then transferred to
The Welcoming Ceremony in Al-Jweideh Prison
Evening of Wednesday, April 10, 2002
We were six individuals in the prison truck heading to Al-Jweideh Prison,
us imprisoned upon the orders of the Governor (no charges are made, no
court can intervene). The other four were detained on the background of
pro-Intifada marches and demonstrations. They were: A taxi driver, two shop
owners and a friend of one of the latter.
Once we came down from the truck, we entered a room (every three together)
were ordered to undress completely, put our hands over our heads, and move
the knee joint) vertically up and down for about thirty times. During this
"exercise", the officer present started hitting one of the shop owners with
foot, then he ordered him to kneel down and kiss the ground, which he did
the fear and beating.
Then we were taken inside the prison and welcomed by a greeting: "You are
demonstrators, huh? Wait and you'll see". Into another room, we were ordered
undress again, then an officer holding a cable wrapped with an adhesive tape
started hitting those inside the room one by one on the hands and all over
body, taking about a minute for each person. I was spared this episode as I
him what my charges were.
Then we moved to an adjacent room where everybody got their hair cut
then pick a blue trousers and top from a dirty pile on the ground. The other
four were continuously beaten and slapped through out this process.
The six of us then were pushed to the prison yard (visiting area). Shadi and
were put aside, then an officer holding a plastic club started hitting the
four very fiercely on all parts of their body, then he was joined by another
officer with a cable. The "yard ceremony" lasted for around 5 minutes, with
screams and begging that drew no attention at all but rather intensified the
beating. What drew my attention was the presence of the Prison DOCTOR who
a couch watching.
Then, three low rank policemen accompanied us to our ward with a special
recommendation to "take good care of us". Midway to the ward, the three
stopped us, moved Shadi and me to one side, and started practicing Karate on
other four. High jumps, back kicks, slaps, and all sorts of as-seen-on-TV
maneuvers with special attention to the head area. To me, this was the most
disgraceful thing I've ever seen in my life.
After this show-off, we walked towards our ward (ward D), lined in front of
door of our room (room 18), and each one (including me and Shadi) received a
welcoming one slap on the face from the ward officer, and entered the room.
A Prison Ward or a Dissecting Room?
Thursday, April 11 to Sunday April 14, 2002
We woke up Thursday on 5:00 am for "counting", a regular procedure done on a
daily basis. There were 61 prisoners in the room, 8 of them were charged,
others are (like me) all held without any charge upon the orders of the
Governor. The number of prisoners rose to 68 on the evening of Saturday,
The room is not equipped to hold such a number; so most detainees shared
(two on each bed). The room was below the level of the ground, humidity very
high, cold, and with a ceiling that donates drops of water on a regular
As the sun rose, an officer called for the "new" prisoners. The six of us
ordered to go up to the prison yard again. There, Shadi and me were ordered
go back to our room. The others came 15 minutes later with red faces. They
beaten yet another time.
I started talking with the inmates, and got to know their stories and their
The large number of them has been detained for about a week in Jweideh
before that they were detained for one or two days in the prisons of local
police stations in Al-Naser, Al-Ashrafeyyeh, Al-Baq'a, Al-Mohajireen,
Al-Shmeisani ... etc.
Age: 18-27. Regular, plain young men, without any political orientations,
participated in one or two marches, most never marched or demonstrated in
Nearly all told the same story: One of them was walking with his mother and
sister in Ras Al-Ein, another was on his way to the nearby supermarket in
Nazzal, another was driving his car with his friends on his way to Friday
prayers in Al-Rabiyeh, another was in his car on his way to buy some food
his wife's relatives who are staying at her room in hospital in Jabal Amman,
another was inside his shop in Wihdat, another was a taxi driver in his cab,
another was the passenger... and so on. Three or four civilian dressed
agents would approach each one of them, start beating them, and then put
a police car/bus were the beating continues. In the police station, they are
severely beaten with clubs, belts, hands, and feet. Many of them reported
beaten individually by 10-14 policemen at a time. Some reported being beaten
a "taking shifts" basis. One person reported being welcomed at Al-Mohajireen
Police Station by two rows of fully geared anti-riot police extending all
way from the bus to the entrance of the police station.
Injuries: The following was directly seen and investigated by myself inside
-ALL those inside the room had severe bruises (red, blue, brown and yellow)
over their bodies, many of which was straight-line markings of cables and
Two had stitched wounds in the head.
The severest injuries were:
-One had a long deep cut in the right forehead 8cm long due to hitting a
edge while trying to evadethe beatings.
-One had a deep penetrative wound in his left hand due to pushing a belts
"tooth" inside it by an officer.
-One had a clear boot-bottom marking on the left side of the face. He said
a policeman stood on his face for about 30 minutes on the way to the police
-One had blood accumulating in his left eye due to a hit with a belt. He
reported that his eye was swollen to the size of a small apple.
-One had hear-loss in the right ear due to a hit with a belt.
I was also told about three incidents were one is forced to kneel down and
a policeman's boot.
Detainees also told us about their "welcoming ceremony" in Al-Jweideh that
included a one-and-half-hours beating fiesta in a closed room to the extent
the walls were red. Standing on one foot while the other is bent backwards
beating, running naked under the rain and crawling on the ground with
(usually done with cables and hoses). They reported that they were literally
"carried" to their prison room because of their injuries.
On the evening of Friday and Saturday, I witnessed more beatings and
five new detainees, who reported being beaten in the yard as well. I also
witnessed the beating (slapping) of a young, small-sized inmate (18-years
in front of all the detainees and in the presence of the Assistant Director
the Prison because he responded with a "yes" to a question by the Assistant
Director asking if there were any beatings in Al-Jweideh prison!
There are many other small details that are trivial in comparison to what is
stated above, but it was very clear that there was a precise intent to scare
hell out of these young men. There was a general atmosphere of terror; the
slightest voice outside the room will result in an "attention line". The
everyday chitchat was about injuries improvement, wishing that no more
demonstrations erupted so that they'll be spared additional beating
and discussing who is the most "merciful" officer and when will be his
I was released Sunday, April 14, 2002, at 12:30pm with a JD10,000 (US$
bail. Shadi Mdanat was released the following day on a similar bail. Some of
those who shared ny prison room were released, some were not, and some do
have the money for bail. But many still remain imprisoned under these
conditions, living every single second in fear and terror of being beaten
The other issue is: Our arrest is NOT to be understood in a regular context,
it's rather an obvious warning and a clear threat to all those working in
field of Liberties and Human Rights. It is clear that the political
in Jordan is not just intolerant with political activism and popular
pro-Intifada and pro-Iraq activities, but it is using its iron fist against
human rights and liberties activists as well