CAIRO: The Journalists’ Syndicate and human rights groups denounced Sunday the detention of journalist and General Coordinator of the Kefaya Movement for Change Abdel-Halim Qandil in Amman.
Qandil was reportedly detained by Jordanian authorities Saturday at Queen Alia International Airport upon arrival in Amman.
“We highly object to what happened to Qandil in Jordan,” Syndicate board member Abeer Saady told Daily News Egypt.
“Jordan has frequently supported freedom of expression. Even the Jordanian king announced that the ‘the ceiling of press freedom is the sky’,” she added.
“But it seems that Jordanian security authorities follow a different principle.”
In a statement released Sunday, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) criticized Jordanian authorities, describing Jordan as “an ambush for activists and journalists.”
Qandil had travelled to Jordan to attend a seminar commemorating the 62nd anniversary of Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) Day.
“Qandil informed me that Jordanian intelligence seized his passport. Yet he refused to provide more details over the phone about what happened exactly,” said Mohamed El-Ashkar, a leading member of Kefaya.
Qandil was released about six hours later and was able to make it to the seminar. “It was clear that they set him free after the media reported the incident,” El-Ashkar said.
“Though visiting Jordan does not require a visa for Egyptians, several activists and journalists were … apprehended [previously at the airport] by the Jordanian intelligence for hours,” the statement noted.
In December 2008, ANHRI Executive Director Gamal Eid was prevented from entering Jordan after Jordanian intelligence held him for seven hours. Then he was forced to return to Egypt.
Meanwhile, El-Ashkar told Daily News Egypt that he has lost contact with Qandil since Saturday evening.
Qandil is expected to arrive in Egypt Monday morning. No further details were immediately available about his case until press time.