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Massive violations of rights of Jordanian and Arab detainees in prisons in Jordan


Date: 16 November 2008

Doc. No: JO/ME/210/08/E

Friends of Humanity International released today, Sunday 16/11/2008, the following document:


Massive violations of rights of Jordanian and Arab detainees in prisons in Jordan

Omer Behari: So I was kidnapped and tortured by Jordanian intelligence 


Friends of the Humanity International documented the testimony of Sudanese Austrian citizen Omer Masaad Behari on abducting and torturing him in 2003 in Jordan, which is as follows:


At the beginning of his testimony, the Sudanese Austrian citizen Omer Behari says: "I have ever never imagined what had happened to me in Jordan's prisons may occur with any human being, I know that there are laws to protect citizens, but I ever never imagined that they could violate those rights like that.                       


"On Wednesday, the first of January of 2003, I traveled on a trip to an aircraft of Royal Jordanian Airlines from Vienna to Khartoum, holding my Sudanese passport (as I did not have obtained Austrian citizenship yet), and on the twenty-two of the same month (Also Wednesday), after visiting my family in Sudan, I returned back on the same route of the lines of Jordan which had a break at the transit Hall in the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. When the plane landed in Amman; which was carrying Sudanese Interior Minister Abdul Rahim Hussein, accompanied by security men, Jordanian inspectors in a  civilian clothes stand at the door of the aircraft wanted to  inspect me where I asked them  surprisingly: why do you want to inspect me?!, but one of them ordered me: "Come with us".


Although I refused initially to go, I found myself forced to enter a special office of intelligence men at the airport, they left me for four hours preventing me from using the bathroom. A public security officer came, claiming  that they want removing me from the airport; but they took me through the regular gate and the security men took me to the special security building, where a security man was carrying an envelope containing my passport and my other special Documents wrote on it: "the late (passed away) Omer Behari", where another security man said to his mate "shot him", after that they put me in a car and took me to a prison which I do not know its name or location".


Mr. Omer Behari, spoke bitterly: "I asked them to contact my family in Sudan, or my wife and my children in Vienna, but they told me that it is forbidden, and they need first to "torture me" and then I can contact my family or my wife. Two days passed without any food, and bouts of anger - which I did not have before - Protesting against the unjust and degrading treatment perpetrated without guilt. The next day someone asked me: Do you know why you are here? I replied: "I do not know, probably a settling of accounts, the CIA had tried to use me to deal with them and I refused".


An investigation man said: "you must confess (he didn't ask about specific information), and added: "I want to know about the mosques in Vienna. There were two investigators as one of them said to the other: 'Break the Sudanese subdue and don't break his back". After that four strong members of the Jordan Arab Army came and took me to a place in the prison called the arena (al Saha in Arabic), they beat my shoulders brutally, and then the torturer of intelligence called the "bey" (Sir) asked me to walk like a duck, so I raised my hand and said: "Oh, my cousin, what my fault for doing so? But the four soldiers caught my hands and pull me back and the "bey" said to them "Leave him, the Sudanese speak with their own hands".


Then he told them to tie me on two crossed wood pieces in the form of Cross and turned my body where my head down and  my legs up, the military intelligence torturer "bey"  hit me, Seventy blow to the bottom of my feet (known as Falaqa) by a stick of bamboo. Then forced me to walk barefoot on the salt and then spraying cold water on my fee".


Behari saying goes: "they lifted me once again and flogged me fifty lashes, I spoke the Shahadatein (words said while dying) after I thought I was going to die of pain, then they stopped beating me when I spoke shahadatein. The "Bey" ordered them to give me a pen and some papers to write my confessions about a crime which I didn’t do or know anything about it, and they  threatened to execute me by electric chair if I didn’t write as they want. I did not imagine I shall enter the prison one day and be abused this way, as it opposes to our culture in Sudan. "


"On the morning of the fourth day they took me blindfolded to the hall apparently, they told me that was special for executions on the "electric chair", one of the executioners called through the microphone on a cell number of a prisoner to show the seriousness of his death, after removing the cover out of my eyes, I recognized that there is no execution chair but they intended to practice pressure both psychological and moral integrity on me.


Surprised by the existence of a "military court", "one of the judges" was wearing a military uniform told me: You are now at a Military court, you entered Jordan illegally for vandalism. I told him I'm not idiot to sabotage Jordan which I consider it as my country, and I have been forced and abducted from the transit lounge at Amman airport where my destination was to my residence Vienna. "The judge" said to the writer: look at the chaos made by intelligence men, they forcibly took him from the Port, accusing him that he had entered Jordan for vandalism. After This play, the security man took me back to the cell".


"On the fifth day a doctor examined me after the director of the prison visited my cell and asked how I was, I informed the doctor that the beatings and blood left an impact on my feet and legs, and so I can not sleep, as I suffering pain and wounds because of beatings and psychological pressure and prevention of continuous sleeping, so after he detecting the effects of my wounds he requested warm water with Sault to put my feet in it to heal my wounds and he gave me pills to sleep.


Thus the days passed, every twelve (12) days, I was associate to a chair in a large hall with a group of prisoners; blindfolded for two days continuously from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, and we waiting long hours in order to let us go to the bathroom. During the long hours they didn't supply me with food all the day.

The soldiers took us from the main prison building to a nearby building belongs to the prison guards, and during our way there were cars going towards us with high speed to terrify us and make us believe that they would hit us while we were blindfolded, but they deviated at the last minute. After these two days which known as (sunbathing), they gave us our own things and  took us  back to our cells again".


About the torture and his suffering with the disease Omer confirmed saying: "in addition to the psychological and physical fatigue and pain caused by the executioners beatings, I suffered in prison for the first time in my life from diabetes and severe infections in the colon accompanied by a serious bleeding.


After sixteen (16) days in prison, they re-tortured me again, stealth and beating me in the prison yard, flogging, as well as threats and pressure, to stand at a "military staff". After the first month of detention and arbitrary retention they stopped beating me, but insults and psychological pressure from investigators were continued.


Regarding the presence of Arab and Muslim prisoners at the jail, Mr. Omer Behari said: "I was told by some prison guards there were in the prison two hundred and sixty (260) of the Arab and Muslim prisoners were transferred by the CIA and other security agencies to Jordan to Investigation. I have identified many of the prisoners from Jordan and other countries were all tortured the same as me and even some of them have been brutally tortured constantly. From them I can remind the following prisoners:


* Saudi prisoner called Maiesarah; he was eighteen (18) years old.

*In Cell No. 95 an Algerian prisoner was detained, he has lived in Britain and British authorities handed him over to Jordan for investigation after his return from Chechnya.

*In Cell No. 92 there was detained a Jordanian citizen who was wounded, his name is Firas Askhuri and known as Abu Abdul-Rahman (walking on crutches) of Azarqa city, he has escaped from the area of Tora Bora in Afghanistan, and arrested  by the Turkish authorities in the border area of Iran and Turkey, but the last one handed him over to the Americans (where he has spent a year and a half in the Americans' jail), then the U.S. authorities handed him over to Jordan for further investigation.


*There were two other Saudi prisoners in another cell who were often repeating songs.

* There was a Syrian prisoner always saying, "Oh God, take the Arab oppressors."

* One of the prisoners held in the upstairs appears from the window of his cell every two days almost shouting and, saying: "Seek help in Allah and be patient, God is with us and not with them".

* In jail, there were many of the French prisoners who were from Moroccan and Algerian origins. "


On the morning of Tuesday, the eighth of April of 2003 and after seventy-seven days of psychological and physical torture, the intelligence agency in Jordan sent Mr. Behari to Amman airport, and forced him to pay one hundred and fifty (150) dollars as a difference in the price of a ticket because of changing of the date Travel due to his detention. Behari falsely told that the flight was to Spain, but after three hours of flying, the plane arrived in his residence Vienna".


Finally, Mr. Omar Behari asks, saying: "Are we really Arab brothers? For whom interest the Arab states act? Is our country has become a big prison for its people? Is freedom being violated in the Arab countries to this extent?”


Observer of law in this case can conclude the following:


* The detention of Mr. Omer Behari by the Jordanian intelligence services, in the transit lounge of the airport of Amman was not based on legal charge, and considered arbitrary act of piracy.


* The Jordanian security services didn’t follow the judicial procedures under the law in cases of arrest and investigation.


* Continuation of practicing psychological and physical torture by investigators and individuals in the Jordanian General Intelligence Department


* Jordan involved in kidnappings, secret prisons, and cooperation with the United States and Britain in practicing widespread violations of the rights of prisoners.


The Friends of Humanity International expresses its deep concern about the serious violations by the security agencies and the Jordanian military of passengers and prisoners; in particular their right to travel freely with dignified treatment and to maintain their security and lives.


The organization condemns the kidnapping of these agencies to Mr. Omer Behari, which has led him to severe suffering by torture, Disease and arbitrary detention, and the "Friends of Humanity" calls the prime minister and the Ministries of Interior and Justice of Jordan, to open urgent judicial inquiry about hijacking, detention and torture of Mr. Behari, and disseminate results of that investigation for publics, and to hold those who were responsible for gross violations of his rights.


The Friends of Humanity International recommends the Jordanian authorities to allow independent human rights commissions to send delegations to visit detainees in detention centers  in Jordan periodically and act in light of the recommendations of those commissions to ensure that no violations of the rights of arrested people.


"Friends of Humanity International ", also calls  the Jordanian government to review its policies so as to ensure that no reception and detention of detainees from other countries by the Jordanian security agencies, as well as stop totally  practicing of arbitrary detention, physical torture and psychological pressure against prisoners in its jails, and maintain all rights of prisoners.


Vienna, 16 November 2008

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