From Middle East Monitor
Palestinian-Jordanian cartoonist, Emad Hajjaj, was arrested in Jordan three days ago after publishing a caricature insulting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.
The CEO of the Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), Nidal Mansour, said that Hajjaj was arrested in connection with a case published under the Cybercrime Law.
The cartoon which was published on his Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site depicts Bin Zayed being spat on by a dove of peace displaying the flag of Israel.
Hajjaj’s cartoon comes after a peace deal was announced between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington, earlier this month.
The UAE is the fourth Arab nation to reach such a deal with Israel, after Jordan, Egypt and Mauritania, although the latter halted relations with the occupation state as a result of its 2014 attack on Gaza.
Hajjaj’s cartoon includes a caption that reads: “Israel asks America not to sell the UAE F-35 aircraft.”
The F-35 fighter jet has been a major target for Abu Dhabi. Getting its hands on such an advanced combat aircraft is believed to be one of the reasons why the UAE signed the peace deal.
Following his arrest, a number of journalists held a protest in solidarity with Hajjaj outside the Palace of Justice demanding his immediate release and calling for the charges against him to be dropped.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also demanded the release of Hajjaj, while calling on authorities not to use the Cybercrime Act to mute critical voices.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Jordanian authorities to immediately release a cartoonist for drawing a satirical cartoon about a recent normalisation deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, reported by Anadolu Agency.
“Calling a satirical cartoon a terrorism offence only confirms that Jordan intends to muzzle citizens who speak freely,” Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East director, said in a statement.
“This arrest sends the message that Jordanian authorities would rather abuse the rights of their own citizens than risk offending a gulf leader’s feelings,” he said.
On Thursday, Hajjaj was referred to the State Security Court on a charge of “disturbing [Jordan’s] relations with a foreign state”
Activists on social media shared the caricature that mocks UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as Israel refused to allow the UAE to buy F-35 warplanes from the US despite Abu Dhabi’s normalization deal with Tel Aviv.
The UAE cancelled a meeting last week with Israel and the US over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to provide the Gulf state with the US fighters F-35.
On 13 August, the UAE and Israel announced a US-brokered agreement to normalise their relations, including opening embassies in each other’s territory.
Palestinian groups, including the Palestinian Authority, have denounced the UAE-Israel deal, saying it does not serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of Palestinians.
Fabio is Director and Editor of Gospa News; a Christian Information Journal.
Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio, born on 24/2/1967 in Borgosesia, started working as a reporter when he was only 19 years old in the alpine area of Valsesia, Piedmont, his birth region in Italy. After studying literature and history at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, he became deputy director of a local newspaper and specialized in judicial reporting.
For about 15 years he is a correspondent from Northern Italy for the Italian newspapers Libero and Il Giornale, also writing important revelations on the Ustica massacre, a report on Freemasonry and organized crime.
With independent investigations, he collaborates with Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza in important investigations that conclude with the arrest of Camorra entrepreneurs or corrupt politicians.
In July 2018 he found the counter-information web media Gospa News focused on geopolitics, terrorism, Middle East, and military intelligence. He is a correspondent from Italy for the French news site Reseau International.
He worked for many years for the magazine Art & Wine as an art critic and curator.