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STOCKHOLM - Skyline International Foundation condemns the arrest  of the cartoonist Imad Hajjaj by the Jordanian security forces for publishing a cartoon deemed offensive to friendly countries.

The Stockholm-based international foundation  "Skyline"  has received testimonies  indicating that Hajjaj - the head of the Jordanian Cartoonists Association – was arrested on grounds of drawing a cartoon in which he protested against the normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel which was announced on August 13.

The executive director of the Amman-based Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists, Nidal Mansour, announced that Hajjaj was arrested over publishing a case under the " Cybercrime law "

Accordingly, Skyline International confirms that this arrest is a new violation of the right to freely express an opinion and contradicts international agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Jordan ratified in 1975.

Article 19 of the International Covenant states that: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medium and regardless of frontiers".

Skyline stresses that muzzling dissents by the Jordanian authorities contravenes their obligations of international covenants and conventions. It is also considered as an extension to the 2015 Cybercrime Law which is based on restricting freedom of expression by imposing criminal penalties for publishing “ false news or sharing hate speech on the internet", according to the authorities. 

Skyline International affirms that the continued summons and arrests on the grounds of media and public expression of opinion in Jordan are inconsistent with the government officials' statements about respecting freedom of expression. Therefore, these arrests must stop immediately.