AMMAN - A Jordanian political activist was sentenced on Thursday to two years in prison for undermining King Abdullah II’s dignity, after he set alight a picture of the monarch this month. “The (military) state security court sentenced Uday Abu Issa, 18, to two years in jail. He has been found guilty of undermining the king’s dignity,” a judicial official told AFP. Abu Issa had confessed to setting alight the picture after tearing it off a municipal wall in Madaba, south of Amman, saying he was upset over the death of a municipal worker who set himself on fire after his contract was terminated.
Human Rights Watch has urged state security prosecutors to drop charges against Abu Issa, who has apologised to the king in a letter sent by his lawyer.
“Burning a royal’s image as a political statement should not be criminally prosecuted,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior HRW Middle East researcher.
“To prosecute this act would send a chilling message that criticising the king is off limits.”