Jordan man sets himself ablaze outside PM's office

AP News
Posted: Apr 07, 2011 12:34 PM
Jordan man sets himself ablaze outside PM's office

A Jordanian man set himself on fire Thursday outside the prime minister's office in the first such act since political unrest hit the country in January.

Mohammed Abdul-Karim was in critical condition with third-degree burns to his face and much of his body, said a doctor at Bashir Hospital.

It was a similar act of self-immolation by a poor vegetable vendor in Tunisia in December that ignited the wave of protest which brought down autocratic rulers in Tunisia and Egypt and is threatening others across the Arab world. Similar acts occurred in other Muslim countries _ some of them fatal _ to protest repressive governments.

The protests calling for political reform in Jordan have generally been smaller and more peaceful than in other Arab nations. But a day of protest on March 25 turned violent as crowds of government supporters and opponents clashed. One man died and 120 others were wounded.

On Thursday, prosecutors charged 80 people with resisting police intervening to break up those clashes. They will stand trial in Jordan's Criminal Court, according to a judicial official. He said they included pro- and anti-government activists but declined to give a breakdown. No trial date has been set. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison.

The judicial official and the doctor who gave details of Abdul-Karim's condition spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to make press statements.