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: Feedback@moj.gov.jo .
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.
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
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 https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/28th/public_-_UA_Jordan_07.07.14_%281.2014%29_Pro.pdf
⦁ 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.