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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08AMMAN2649 2008-09-11 14:22:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

JORDANIAN PROSECUTOR PURSUES CASE CRIMINALIZING

Tags:   PGOV KDEM JO 
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1. (C) Dr. Hassan Al-Abdallat, the Prosecutor General in
Amman, is pursuing a criminal case against 12 Europeans,
including Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and Dutch MP
(and film maker) Geert Wilders, for criticizing Islam. The
lawsuit was brought by Zakaria al-Sheikh, founder of "The
Prophet Of Allah Unites Us" group, who publishes an Islamist
weekly newspaper called Fact International (Ref A) which
features inflammatory coverage of the U.S. and Israel while
claiming to "portray a moderate image of Islam."



2. (SBU) Sheikh sued Wilders, Westergaard and 10 other Danes
in June, accusing them of insulting and slandering Islam,
transgressing the feelings of Muslims, vilifying the Prophet,
and violating the 2001 Electronic Transactions Law. The
Electronic Transaction Law of 2001 allows for the prosecution
of "any person who commits an act that constitutes a crime
pursuant to legislation in force by using electronic means."
Under Jordanian law anyone may bring a case before the public
prosecutor. Once presented with a case, the prosecutor
decides if the case merits being forwarded to the criminal
courts. Part of this process includes requesting the
presence of the named parties to hear both versions of the
presented case. The subpoenas filed with Interpol by
Abdallat in July regard this phase of the case process, not
presence for actual prosecution. Embassy contacts at the
Ministry of Justice were unsure if Al-Abdallat, who has a
reputation as a particularly aggressive prosecutor, had put
the case forward to the courts or not.



3. (C) During a September 11 meeting with DCMs from the
Danish, Dutch, and Israeli Embassies, DCM was told that both
the Danish and Dutch governments had sought to discuss the
case with the plaintiff. The Dutch were rebuffed outright,
though the plaintiff agreed to meet with a non-official
representative of the Danish government. DCMs from both
embassies felt that Sheikh's side of the case had been
presented but their governments had not been allowed to
respond and indicated their governments are unsure how or
where to proceed.

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