Jordan arrests Islamist figure over op-ed piece

AP News
Posted: Nov 21, 2014 5:39 AM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan arrested a senior Muslim Brotherhood figure over his op-ed piece criticizing the United Arab Emirates for designating the Islamist organization as a terrorist group, the group's spokesman said Friday.

According to the spokesman, Murad Adaileh, the Brotherhood's deputy secretary-general Zaki Bani Irsheid was taken into custody by security forces late Thursday after a meeting at the group's headquarters in Amman's Abdali neighborhood.

Irsheid is the third senior Brotherhood figure to be arrested in recent months in Jordan as part of a crackdown on the opposition. The Brotherhood is Jordan's largest opposition group, and until now, the kingdom mostly allowed it to operate freely.

Adaileh said Irsheid, who is also a leader of the Islamic Action Front, the Brotherhood's political arm, was jailed pending an investigation into his op-ed piece that slammed the UAE's designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

According to the state prosecutor's office, Irsheid may be charged with "souring relations with a friendly country." Jordan and the UAE are allies of the United States in the campaign against Islamic State militants.

Last Saturday, the UAE designated the Brotherhood and dozens of other Islamist groups as terrorist organizations, lumping it together with extremists such as the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria.

Saudi Arabia in March designated the Brotherhood a terrorist group along with al-Qaida and others. In Egypt, the 86-year-old Brotherhood was labelled a terrorist organization and banned last December.

On Thursday, Egypt arrested leading Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Ali Bishr, who played a key role in negotiations between his now-banned group and the government, at his home in the Nile Delta.