Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor

Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor
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Bassem Awadallah. (Raed Omari)
Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor
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Bassem Awadallah. (Raed Omari)
Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor
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Sharif Hassan bin Zaid. (Raed Omari)
Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor
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Sharif Hassan bin Zaid. (Raed Omari)
Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor
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Sharif Hassan bin Zaid. (Raed Omari)
Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor
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Bassem Awadallah. (Raed Omari)
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Updated 12 July 2021

Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor

Jordan sentences two sedition plotters to 15 years hard labor
  • Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid plotted to undermine the country’s security and stability

AMMAN: Jordan’s military State Security Court (SSC) on Monday sentenced Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid to 15 years of hard labor each for their involvement in a high-profile sedition case.

Awadallah, a former chief of the Jordanian Royal Court, and Bin Zaid, a distant member of the royal family, stood trial on charges of plotting to undermine the government and the country’s security and stability.

The SSC allowed reporters to attend part of the hearing on Monday but from outside the courtroom via a TV screen.

Reading the charge sheet, the court president said that the case had to do with the Jordanian ruling system, the legitimacy of which “stemmed from the constitution which stipulates that the system of government is parliamentary with a hereditary monarchy.”

The judge added that Awadallah held several government posts in Jordan that enabled him to build a network of connections inside and outside the country. Bin Zaid, he said, was a Jordanian national who worked in the private sector.

The court was told that the two men had been friends since 2001 and had hostile attitudes toward the regime, the king, the legitimacy of the monarch’s rule, and the Jordanian state’s constants.

The military judge also said the suspects plotted to ignite chaos and sedition in the society, exploiting certain internal and external incidents.

“What happened was a criminal plotting from the suspects in fulfillment of their hidden desires and was targeting the existing regime. The court had clear and convincing evidence of the crime.”

Awadallah’s lawyer Mohammed Afif, a former SCC president, said he would challenge the verdict at the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court).

Awadallah and Bin Zaid were arrested on April 3 along with 15 other people suspected of involvement in the case, which also involved Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, a half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

At the time, Jordanian authorities said that Awadallah, Bin Zaid, and Prince Hamzah were attempting to destabilize the country in collaboration with “foreign entities.”

Upon directives from King Abdullah, Prince Hamzah’s case was settled within the Hashemite family.

The Jordanian Royal Court published a letter signed by Prince Hamzah in which he vowed allegiance to the monarch and confirmed that he would act “always for His Majesty and his crown prince to help and support.”

The prince, 41, has been seen only once since April accompanying the king during the palace’s Jordanian independence celebrations on May 25.

British and US-educated Prince Hamzah was sidelined as former heir to the throne in 2004.

The SSC prosecutor had leveled sedition and incitement charges against Awadallah and Bin Zaid and accused them of conspiring with the prince to destabilize the country and fuel unrest against the monarch in collaboration with foreign parties.

Awadallah and Bin Zaid pleaded not guilty during their opening trial earlier in June. Both suspects presented written statements to the court.

The charge sheet against Awadallah and Bin Zaid said they were long-time friends because of the nature of their work and connection to the prince, who was seeking to become the ruler of Jordan, and “took advantage of certain incidents, including economic distress and a hospital tragedy in March, to create chaos and frustration in the country.”

Seven coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients died in March at the New Salt Public Hospital, northwest of the capital Amman, when its oxygen supplies failed.

The charges said the three men regularly met at the home of Awadallah, who was reportedly “encouraging the prince to intensify his meetings with notables and tribal leaders.”

Their strategy included attacks and criticisms of King Abdullah, “with the hope of gaining popular support,” the charge sheet added.


UN, US sanction Libyan official over human trafficking

UN, US sanction Libyan official over human trafficking
Updated 6 sec ago

UN, US sanction Libyan official over human trafficking

UN, US sanction Libyan official over human trafficking
  • The Al-Nasr Martyrs detention center is located in the western town of Zawiya
  • A spokesman for the Libyan government did not answer calls seeking comment

CAIRO: The United Nations Security Council and the United States have imposed sanctions on a Libyan official over the alleged abuse and torture of migrants in a detention center.
The Security Council and the US said in separate statements late Tuesday that Osama Al-Kuni is the de facto head of a detention center in the North African nation’s west. Migrants there are said to have been subjected to torture, sexual and gender-based violence and human trafficking.
Libya emerged as a major conduit for African migrants hoping to reach Europe after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed the country’s longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. The country subsequently slid into chaos, with rival governments and parliaments based in its western and eastern regions, each backed by different militias and tribes.
The Al-Nasr Martyrs detention center is located in the western town of Zawiya, home of two of the country’s most wanted human traffickers, Abdel-Rahman Milad, and militia leader Mohammed Kachlaf.
Both Milad and Kachlaf were sanctioned by the Security Council in 2018 over allegations of human trafficking and abuse of migrants.
A spokesman for the Libyan government did not answer calls seeking comment.
In its statement Tuesday, the UN sanctions committee said Al-Kuni “has acted for or on behalf of or at the direction” of Milad and Kachlaf.
The Department of the Treasury blamed Al-Kuni on “systematic exploitation of African migrants at the detention center where these migrants are subject to various human rights abuses.”
It said he or others under his direction “have been involved in or facilitated the killing, exploitation, abuse, and extortion of migrants at the detention center, including through sexual violence, beatings, starvation, and other mistreatment.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Libyan government to hold Al-Kuni and others implicated in human rights abuses accountable.
Libya holds migrants in overcrowded detention centers, like Al-Nasr, where torture, sexual assault and other abuses are rife. Detention center guards beat and tortured migrants, then extorted money from their relatives, supposedly in exchange for their freedom, The Associated Press reported earlier this month.
UN-commissioned investigators said earlier this month that abuse and ill treatment of migrants in Libya amount to crimes against humanity.


Ding brings mobile top-ups to Snapchatters in 15 countries 

Ding brings mobile top-ups to Snapchatters in 15 countries 
Updated 11 min 17 sec ago

Ding brings mobile top-ups to Snapchatters in 15 countries 

Ding brings mobile top-ups to Snapchatters in 15 countries 
  • Snap Mini service available in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman in Middle East region 

LONDON: Ding, one of the world’s largest mobile top-up platforms, has partnered with Snapchat to bring its service to the platform as a Snap Mini. 

Snap Minis are bite-sized utilities within the app. Developers can design and integrate them within Snapchat to offer everything from gaming to booking tickets. 

In a global first, Snapchatters in 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, can now request a top-up from other users and top-up each other’s phones instantly from within the Ding Mini on Snapchat. The request is shared over Snapchat with friends and family, who can then purchase the top-up on their requester’s behalf in the Ding Mini. 

“We are delighted to launch the Ding Prepaid Top-up Gifts Mini in Snapchat. It gives us access to millions of potential new customers who are keen to keep their phones active,” said Ding Chief Commercial Officer Rupert Shaw. 

The move comes at a time when social commerce is rapidly growing, with users often making purchases from directly within social apps. 

“Younger generations are increasingly looking to avail of new services that help them live more of their lives on one platform,” said Shaw. 

With the demand for mobile data ever-increasing, the likelihood of users running out of credit is high. A report from Ericsson suggests that the average monthly data usage per smartphone will reach 35 gigabytes by 2026, up from 10GB currently, added Shaw. 

“The Ding Mini makes it easy and fun for Snapchatters to support their friends and stay connected through social commerce, all without leaving Snapchat,” said Alston Cheek, director of platform partnerships at Snap. This is the latest in a string of new commerce experiences in Snapchat, he added. 

The service is currently available in eight languages in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia. 

 

 


Khartoum airport will reopen on Wednesday: Head of Sudan civil aviation

Khartoum airport will reopen on Wednesday: Head of Sudan civil aviation
Updated 27 October 2021

Khartoum airport will reopen on Wednesday: Head of Sudan civil aviation

Khartoum airport will reopen on Wednesday: Head of Sudan civil aviation
  • The airport was closed from Monday following the ousting of Sudan's government by the military

KHARTOUM: Khartoum International Airport will reopen on Wednesday at 1400 GMT, the head of Sudanese civil aviation told Reuters.
The airport was closed from Monday following the ousting of Sudan's government by the military.


Gasoline distribution returning to normal after cyberattack – state media

Gasoline distribution returning to normal after cyberattack – state media
Updated 27 October 2021

Gasoline distribution returning to normal after cyberattack – state media

Gasoline distribution returning to normal after cyberattack – state media
  • Details of the attack and its source are under investigation

DUBAI: Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported on Wednesday that gasoline distribution is returning to normal a day after a cyberattack which affected 4,300 gas stations across the country.
The details of the attack and its source are under investigation, Abul-Hassan Firouzabadi, the Secretary of the Supreme Council to Regulate Virtual Space, told the news agency.


Lebanon PM says minister’s criticism of Saudi is not government position

Lebanon PM says minister’s criticism of Saudi is not government position
Updated 27 October 2021

Lebanon PM says minister’s criticism of Saudi is not government position

Lebanon PM says minister’s criticism of Saudi is not government position
  • The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council said in a statement he rejected Kordahi’s comments

CAIRO: Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati said late on Tuesday that comments made by a member of his cabinet who criticized the Saudi military intervention in Yemen did not reflect the cabinet’s position.
“Lebanon is keen on having the best relations with Saudi Arabia and condemns any interference in its internal affairs,” Mikati said.
Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi said late on Tuesday that comments he made around the Yemen war, which started circulating on social media on Tuesday, were made in an August interview before he joined Mikati’s cabinet.
Saudi and Lebanese relations were tested earlier this year when former Lebanese foreign minister Cherbel Wehbe made comments in a television interview about how Gulf states were to blame for the rise of Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Wehbe resigned over the comments in May.
In April, Saudi Arabia banned the imports of fruit and vegetables from Lebanon claiming shipments were used for drug smuggling. The ban weighed heavily on a Lebanese economy struggling with the worst financial crises in modern times.
Late on Tuesday, Interior Minister Bassem Mawlawi also made a statement, after the controversy over Kordahi’s comments, emphasizing the strong relations between the two countries followed by a statement by the foreign minister, who also supported Saudi ties.
The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council said in a statement on Wednesday he rejected Kordahi’s comments adding they reflected little understanding and a superficial reading of the events in Yemen.
Gulf monarchies, who have traditionally channeled funds into Lebanon, have been loathe to come to its rescue amidst its economic meltdown so far, alarmed by the rising influence of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group.