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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                      

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Torture and other mistreatment in custody are common and rarely draw serious penalties. Prison conditions are generally poor, and inmates reportedly suffer from beatings and other abuse by guards.  [Freedom House Country Report, 2020 ]

Description: Description: Jordan

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Jordan.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Jordan

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 26 July 2021]


The constitution bans torture, including psychological harm, by public officials and provides penalties up to three years’ imprisonment for its use, with a penalty of up to 15 years if serious injury occurs. While the law prohibits such practices, international and local NGOs reported incidents of torture and mistreatment in police and security detention centers. Human rights lawyers found the penal code ambiguous and supported amendments to define “torture” more clearly and strengthen sentencing guidelines. According to government officials, all reported allegations of abuse in custody were thoroughly investigated, but human rights NGOs questioned the impartiality of these investigations.


Conditions in the country’s 18 prisons varied: Old facilities had poor conditions while new prisons met international standards.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 17 May 2020]


Torture and other mistreatment in custody are common and rarely draw serious penalties. Prison conditions are generally poor, and inmates reportedly suffer from beatings and other abuse by guards.

Rights group says five died under torture in Jordan detention centres

Jordan, Middle East, News, 27 November 2018

[accessed 1 December 2018]

Jordanian Adaleh Centre for Human Rights Studies said as many as five persons have died due to “systematic” torture in the kingdom’s detention centres.

“Torture is systematically carried out in Jordan through a constant and repeated context. Physical and psychological torture is used as a means of investigation in security services such as the Criminal Investigation Department and the Anti-Narcotics Department to obtain confessions” the centre’s executive director, Assem Rababa’a told a press conference on Monday.

Arabic press review: Jordanian security forces accused of systematic torture

Human rights centre says torture systematic in Jordan

Mohammad Ayesh, Middle East Eye, 26 November 2018

[accessed 27 November 2018]

In its second annual report, Adaleh Centre for Human Rights said: "Torture in Jordan is practised systematically and continuously. Physical and psychological abuse is continuously resorted to so as to extract and obtain information."

Lawyer Salem al-Mefleh, an Adaleh Centre member responsible for following up on torture cases, said that 33 incidents have taken place from 2013 to 2015, increasing to 80 cases in detention centres from 2016 to 2018, according to al-Quds al-Arabi.

He added that "the crimes of torture are surrounded with silence and take place inside closed places in isolation from the outside world," noting that "the most prominent difficulties in cases of torture occur during investigations and trials, as the victims’ lawyers are prevented from having a look into preliminary investigations."

Center for Victims of Torture Marks 10 Years of Healing in Jordan

Center for Victims of Torture, St. Paul, Minn., 8 Oct 2018

[accessed 9 October 2018]

The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) is marking 10 years of healing in Jordan, where the organization has cared for thousands of refugee survivors of torture and war, beginning with Iraqi clients and expanding over the years as conflicts and crises emerged in the region and beyond. CVT Jordan has steadily worked over these years to meet increasing demand for holistic, rehabilitative care for refugee torture survivors, especially as the Syrian conflict began and continues to devastate communities today. Since 2008, CVT Jordan has extended rehabilitative care to more than 7,400 refugee survivors of torture and war.

Torture at Gitmo? Blame Jordan!

Peter Lee, Counter Punch Weekend Edition, May 1-3, 2015

[accessed 10 May 2015]

Jordanians practice torture on a daily basis, but they need a reasonable suspicion to do so.  They don’t just jump on anybody and start to torture him…In the beginning the Jordanians were seen as a potential associate for doing the dirty work; the fact that Jordanians widely use torture as a means to facilitate interrogation seemed to impress the American authorities.  But there was a problem: the Jordanians don’t take anybody and torture him; they must have reason to practice heavy physical torture…I learned later from the Jordanian detainee in GTMO who spent fifty days in the same prison…that they do have…painful methods of torture, like hanging detainees from their hands and feet and beating them for hours, and depriving them from sleep for days until they lose their minds.

 “In Jordan they don’t torture unless they have evidence…The torture starts around midnight and finishes around dawn.  Everybody takes part, the prison director, the interrogators, and the guards…”

In February 2002, the director of Jordan’s Antiterrorism Department was the subject of an assassination plot…The investigation led to a suspect, but the secret police couldn’t find him…The peaceful brother was to be taken as a pawn and tortured until his brother turned himself in.  Special Forces were sent out, arerested the innocent boy in a crowded place, and beat him beyond belief…The boy was taken to the prison and tortured every day by his interrogator.  “I don’t care how long it takes, I am going to keep torturing you until your brother turns himself in,” his interrogator said.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


TORTURE, POLICE VIOLENCE, AND ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION - Perpetrators of torture or other ill-treatment continued to enjoy near-total impunity due to the authorities’ reliance on special police prosecutors and judges to investigate allegations against, prosecute, and try fellow officers. At the Police Court, where many such cases are heard, two out of three sitting judges are serving police officers appointed by the police. To date, no police or intelligence officer has ever been convicted of torture under article 208 of the penal code.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/JOR/2 (2010)

[accessed 2 March 2013]

Impunity for acts of torture and ill-treatment

10. The Committee is deeply concerned at the numerous, consistent and credible allegations of a widespread and routine practice of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in detention facilities, including facilities under the control of the General Intelligence Directorate and the Criminal Investigations Department. The Committee is further concerned that such allegations are seldom investigated and prosecuted and that there would appear to be a climate of impunity resulting in the lack of meaningful disciplinary action or criminal prosecution against persons of authority accused of acts specified in the Convention. The Committee is particularly concerned that while no official has ever been prosecuted for having committed torture under article 208 of the Penal Code, there have been prosecutions under article 37 of the Public Security Law of 1965 as the lex specialis, calling solely for disciplinary action. The Committee is further concerned that article 61 of the Penal Code stipulates that a person shall bear no criminal responsibility for acts performed in accordance with orders given by someone of higher rank. (arts. 2, 4, 12 and 16)

As a matter of urgency, the State party should take immediate and effective measures to prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment throughout the country, including announcement of a policy that would produce measurable results in the eradication of torture and ill-treatment by State officials.

The State party should ensure that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment are investigated promptly, effectively and impartially, and that the perpetrators are prosecuted and convicted in accordance with the gravity of the acts, as required by article 4 of the Convention.

Furthermore, the State party should amend its legislation in order to explicitly provide that an order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Complaints and prompt and impartial investigations

11. The Committee expresses its concern at the high number of complaints of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement, security, intelligence and prison officials, the limited number of investigations carried out by the State party in such cases, and the very limited number of convictions in those cases which are investigated. Additionally, the Committee is concerned that the existing investigative bodies lack the necessary independence to review individual complaints about misconduct committed by security officials. The Committee also regrets the lack of detailed information, including statistics, on the number of complaints of torture and ill-treatment and results of all the proceedings, both at the penal and disciplinary levels, and their outcomes. (arts. 11, 12 and 16)

The State party should strengthen its measures to ensure prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment of convicted prisoners and detainees and to bring to justice law enforcement, security, intelligence, and prison officials who carried out, ordered or acquiesced in such practices. In particular, such investigations should be undertaken by an independent body. In connection with prima facie cases of torture and ill-treatment, the alleged suspect should as a rule be subject to suspension or reassignment during the process of investigation, to avoid any risk that he or she might impede the investigation, or continue any reported impermissible actions in breach of the Convention.

The State party should prosecute the perpetrators and impose appropriate sentences on those convicted in order to ensure that State officials who are responsible for violations prohibited by the Convention are held accountable.

On the Way Towards Self Determination: Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech and Electoral Self Determination - A Fieldwork on Human Rights in Jordan

Anna Pascale, 26 April 2012

[accessed 26 August 2016]

ABSTRACT - Even if from King Abdullah on down, Jordanian officials pride themselves on a better human rights record than their neighbours, the kingdom has barely advanced rights protections over the past decade, and their issue continues to be a matter of concern for many in and outside of the country.

This work represents the culmination of a research project aiming to provide instruments which allow for the evaluation of the actions undertaken in Jordan, in order to promote human rights respect and, then, human development. In the course of fieldwork in Jordan, information was collected by interviewing, in each Jordanian governorate, international and local organizations engaged in different fields of human rights; afterwards, the data were processed so to obtain synthetic measures.

The result was a set of six meaningful indicators (pertaining to the human rights dimensions of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, electoral self determination, freedom of movement, freedom of association and workers’ rights), aggregated into a final composite index. Such multidimensional indicators – inspired by the CIRI Empowerment Rights Index -allow for a comparison among the levels of fulfilment of human rights achieved by different geographic areas in the country and facilitate the suggestion of public policies useful for the complementary promotion of human rights and human development in the country.

Human Rights In Jordan

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 3 February 2013]

From King Abdullah on down, Jordanian officials pride themselves on a better rights record than their neighbors, but the kingdom has barely advanced rights protections over the past decade. Expression and association remain tightly circumscribed in law and practice, and security services enjoy a large degree of impunity for arbitrary arrests and torture, as do employers for widespread abuses against migrant domestic workers.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - There were reports of torture and other ill-treatment of security suspects and people detained, some incommunicado for prolonged periods, following pro-reform protests.

Eleven men arrested on 21 October for allegedly planning violent attacks in Amman were held by the GID in Amman in almost continuous incommunicado detention without access to lawyers or family for more than two months. Most of them claimed to have “confessed” under torture.

Rami al-Sehwal was reportedly stripped naked, tied and beaten over two days by police and GID officers who sought to “teach” him and 12 other men “a lesson” after they were detained at a peaceful protest in Amman on 30 March. All 13 were released without charge


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 5 January 2019]

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Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 5   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 3 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

The judiciary is subject to executive influence through the Justice Ministry and the Higher Judiciary Council, most of whose members are appointed by the king. While most trials in civilian courts are open and procedurally sound, the State Security Court (SSC) may close its proceedings to the public. A temporary law promulgated in 2001 allows the prime minister to refer any case to the SSC and denies the right of appeal to people convicted by the SSC of misdemeanors.

Jordanian citizens enjoy little protection from arbitrary arrest and detention. Under the constitution, suspects may be detained for up to 48 hours without a warrant and up to 10 days without formal charges being filed; courts routinely grant prosecutors 15-day extensions of this deadline. Even these protections are denied to suspects referred to the SSC, who are often held in lengthy pretrial detention and refused access to legal counsel until just before trial. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture found in 2006 that “torture is systematically practiced” by the General Intelligence Department (GID), which interrogates suspects to obtain confessions in SSC cases. Nearly every defendant tried by the SSC has claimed they were tortured.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 3 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, police and security forces allegedly abused detainees during detention and interrogation and reportedly also used torture. Allegations of torture were difficult to verify because the police and security officials frequently denied detainees timely access to lawyers. The most frequently reported methods of torture included beating, sleep deprivation, extended solitary confinement, and physical suspension. Defendants charged with security-related offenses before the State Security Court claimed they were tortured to obtain confessions and claimed to have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse while in detention.

Government officials denied many allegations of detainee abuse, pointing out that many defendants claimed abuse in order to shift the focus away from their crimes. During the year defendants in nearly every case before the Security Court alleged that they were tortured while in custody. At times the courts requested prison administrators to treat inmates in accordance with the law. A December 26 report issued by the National Center for Human Rights (NCHR) reported on allegations of mistreatment at prisons and detention centers, including that inmates were subjected to beatings.

NCHR's May 31 report, The State of Human Rights in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, stated that the court system does not provide sufficient guarantees to prevent torture and other forms of abuse at the hands of the authorities.

In May, 15 men accused of planning terrorist attacks in the country claimed that their confessions were extracted under torture. The main defendant in that case, Abed Shehadeh Tahawi, claimed that security forces fabricated the case against him because he is an Islamist preacher. One of the defense lawyers claimed that the security forces used chemicals to hide evidence of torture. He also claimed that the prosecution did not read the defendants their indictment sheet when they were brought in for questioning.

In July four Islamist defendants standing trial for plotting to attack liquor stores retracted their confessions, claiming they were extracted under torture. Their attorneys claimed the men were denied their right to have an attorney present during their interrogations. Also in July relatives of seven men standing trial for plotting attacks on tourists testified that they believed the defendants had been tortured, because their imprisoned relatives looked weak and had told them they had confessed under duress.

Affiliates of fugitive Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, convicted in absentia in April 2004 of killing Lawrence Foley in 2002 (see section 1.a.), claimed their confessions were extracted under duress. Muammar Jaghbir, who was sentenced to death in absentia for killing Foley and subsequently apprehended and retried, was detained by the security forces for six months of interrogation before appearing in court. Zarqawi's nephew, Omar al-Khalayleh, who was sentenced in May 2004 with two others for plotting against foreign tourists, also claimed torture during his trial.

During his trial in 2004, detained al-Zarqawi accomplice Miqdad al-Dabbas claimed that his confession was made under duress. He was sentenced in April to 15 years in prison for plotting attacks against Jordan's embassy in Baghdad.

Human rights activists reported a number of cases of beatings and other abuses of individuals in police custody during the year. Human rights activists also claimed that detainees were often held incommunicado for up to two months after arrest.

In December Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the prime minister asking him to investigate an apparent miscarriage of justice, in which two people were convicted in the murder of Najih Khayyat. The first defendant, Bilal Musa, confessed to killing 1 man in self defense, and later to killing Najih Khayyat and 9 others; he claimed that the latter 10 confessions were extracted under duress. Musa was executed in 2000. Later, Zuhair Khatib confessed to killing Najih Khayyat. On May 15, the same judges who tried and convicted Musa sentenced Zuhair Khatib to death for Khayyat's murder. The court subsequently reversed its verdict in Khatib's case and exonerated him.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Jordan ",, [accessed <date>]