On 25 July 2020, security forces in Jordan arrested the board members of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA), raided the union’s offices and shut it down for a period of two years. The prosecutor charged JTA president Nasser Nawasreh with incitement over a speech the union leader delivered on 22 July and which was critical of the government. Riot police were deployed to stop peaceful demonstrations initiated by JTA members denouncing the crackdown on trade union rights.
On 16 August 2020, the Magistrate’s Criminal Court in Amman imposed a blackout on news coverage related to cases brought against the JTA. The ban on press coverage applied to news, publications, and comments on trial proceedings. These actions by the authorities have provoked peaceful demonstrations in several cities in Jordan. However, other JTA members and supporters were arrested during those demonstrations.
While JTA board members were released on bail on 23 August 2020, due to a legal provision of limiting detention to 30 days, on 26 October, a JTA public press conference was banned by the governor of Amman.
Right to civil liberties
On 29 July 2020, the Jordanian police brutally repressed a peaceful rally organised by the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA). Five hundred teachers were arrested and later released. The attorney general later brought charges against JTA board members. All of them were held in pretrial detention for 30 days. On 31 December 2020, the Magistrate Court sentenced the JTA board members to the maximum penalty, one-year imprisonment, for “misdemeanour of inciting hate or riot in educational institutions by use of any means available”; “misdemeanour of inciting illegal gathering”; and “misdemeanour of influencing the freedom of elections”. Following international mobilisation, they were finally released on bail while the JTA board appealed the judicial decision.
Right to trade union activities
In 2020 and 2021, the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA) has been the target of multiple attacks by the authorities, including the arbitrary dissolution of the organisation on 31 December 2020 and the prosecution of its board members.
Prosecution of union leaders for participating in strikes
On 29 July 2020, members of the JordanianTeachers’ Association (JTA), which was arbitrarily dissolved later in the year, held a peaceful rally to protest against the relentless attacks of the government. Five hundred teachers were arrested and later released. However, the attorney general brought charges against JTA and its board members. All of them were held in pretrial detention for 30 days.
On 31 December 2020, the Magistrate Court found JTA board members guilty of the following offences: “misdemeanour of inciting hate or riot in educational institutions by use of any means available”; “misdemeanour of inciting illegal gathering”; and “misdemeanour of influencing the freedom of elections”. All were sentenced to the maximum penalty of one-year’s imprisonment.
In January 2021, a large protest of teachers in the vicinity of the Parliament was dispersed by the Jordanian security forces. The teachers then formed separate gatherings and started chanting union slogans, but soon after the police surrounded them and ordered them to leave. The police also detained more than 230 teachers for several hours before releasing them.