Thursday, June 05, 2008

Jordan Summons Danes In Effort To Create International Blasphemy Law

Jordan's Public Prosecutor has summoned Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and the editors of ten Danish newspapers to appear in Jordan to answer charges of blasphemy and threatening the national peace because of an offensive cartoon of Muhammad reprinted in Danish newspapers earlier this year. (See prior posting.) Jordanian courts have not issued an indictment, but the Prosecutor is attempting to use the case to create international law against slandering religion. Developments are reported Tuesday by the Copenhagen Post and yesterday by Fox News. Abu Dhabi's The National last week ran an excellent background piece pointing out that the case was brought by a group known as The Prophet Unites Us, a coalition of media outlets and members of Parliament. The complaint charges that publishing the cartoons violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which both Jordan and Denmark have signed, as well as provisions of the Jordanian Penal Code. A 2006 amendment to Jordan's Criminal Procedures Law allows a complaint to be filed if an alleged crime is committed on the Internet outside Jordan but has an impact on Jordanians. However, there is no extradition treaty between Denmark and Jordan.