Police detain two people threatening Jordanian journalists online


Published: 2017-09-06 13:55

Last Updated: 2024-06-13 16:57

Police have detained the two suspects, identified as A.Z. and I.Z.
Police have detained the two suspects, identified as A.Z. and I.Z.

Two social media users who have allegedly threatened liberal journalists Zleekha Abu Risheh and Basel Al Rafai’a on Facebook have been reported to the Governor of Zarqa, Hamid Alsheyyab.

The governor has taken legal action against the cyber bullies and placed Abu Risheh under police protection, according Ammon News.

Police have detained the two suspects, identified as A.Z. and I.Z.

“We are currently questioning the two individuals and will refer them to the relevant courts for further legal action,” a senior police official told The Jordan Times.

It is claimed that A.Z. wrote in a Facebook post: “Zleekha Abu Risheh and Basel Al Rafai’a do not provoke people with their religion. We have advised Nahed [Hattar not to do so] a lot.”

Hattar was assassinated in front of a courthouse in 2016 as he made his way to attend a hearing where he was being tried for sharing an anti-Islam caricature on social media.

The second suspect, I.Z., wrote on his Facebook page: “A phenomenon: Are Basel and Zuleikha practising their atheist ideologies only against the Islamic religion or it includes other religions?”

While UAE-based columnist Al Rafai’a praised the governor for taking legal action against his bullies, he told The Jordan Times: “Describing us as atheists is a dangerous accusation because in our society’s beliefs, atheists and infidels should be killed. This is a direct threat to our lives.”


Journalist Basel Al Rafai'a. (Abouna.org)


Meanwhile, Abu Risheh said the “threats by these individuals and other comments from their followers surfaced on Facebook shortly after Basel and I wrote statements criticising the newly elected Mayor Ali Abul Sukkar, who is an Islamist, and whose one of his first official actions was to post God’s names on poles and signs in Zarqa”.

“We criticised the action and said that there were more pressing and urgent matters in Zarqa that needed handling than posting God’s names in the city’s streets. Shortly afterwards, we noticed that some people, including these two individuals, posted threats against us,” the activist and feminist added.


Journalist Zleekha Abu Risheh. (Ain.jo)


This is not the first time the Jordanian journalists have received death threats.

“This is the third time I receive death threats in over a year by people who oppose my writing on hijab as well as my calling for new explanations of some verses of the Koran,” Abu Risheh said.

Al Rafai’a said that such threats will not deter him from expressing his beliefs.

“I have been threatened in the past because of my liberal thoughts and the level of threats increased when Nahed Hattar was assassinated, because people with dark thoughts believed that they won when he was killed,” he told The Jordan Times.

Al Rafai’a’s writing focus on separating religion from the state to protect people’s freedoms and rights, while Abu Risheh is a secularist and against political Islam.