SHAFAQNA – The military court sentenced Zaki Bani Rushaid to 18 months in prison in Jordan , the deputy head of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood for publicly criticizing the UAE , in a verdict his lawyer described as illegal and an attack on free speech as news agencies said. He is the most high-profile political figure in decades to be imprisoned in Jordan. Bani Rushaid was arrested in November after criticizing the UAE on social media for designating the Brotherhood, which is Jordan’s biggest opposition party, as a terrorist group and thereby serving Israeli interests. His arrest was condemned by rights groups.
The UAE is one of Jordan’s main participating in U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. Bani Rushaid’s lead counsel Saleh Armouti said the court was illegal and its verdict a political one designed to “twist the arms of the Islamist movement”.