Jordanian police and intelligence officers arrested Syrian freelance journalist Ibrahim Ahmed Awad at his home in Amman in November 2021 and transferred him to the Azraq refugee camp, which he is banned from leaving.
Awad is a freelance journalist who contributes to outlets including the news websites Qasioun and The Levant News, and has presented commentary on broadcasters Al-Jazeera and Syria TV. He frequently covers human rights and conflict in Syria, and previously covered arrests by Syrian intelligence agents and attacks on Syrian-Russian joint patrols.
Before authorities confiscated his devices upon his arrest, he posted news and commentary on his personal Twitter account, where he has about 1,500 followers, and his coverage has included discussion of Syrian government-affiliated forces’ alleged human rights abuses.
He has lived in Jordan for several years, and has a wife and children in Amman. The journalist, who spoke to CPJ in November 2021 and in September 2022 from the Azraq refugee camp, is in the country as a refugee – he has a Jordanian-issued refugee identification card, a photo of which he shared with CPJ, and said he is registered as an asylum seeker with the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees in Jordan.
On November 15, 2021, four Jordanian police and intelligence officers raided Awad’s home in the Tla al-Ali neighborhood of Amman, the capital, where they seized his laptop, two cell phones, and an iPad, and took him into custody, according to news reports and the journalist.
Awad told CPJ that the officers who raided his home produced a search warrant issued by the State Security Court, but did not inform him of the reasons for his arrest. He said he identified himself as a journalist during the raid and his detention.
Authorities then transferred Awad to a Security Directorate office in Zarqa, about 50 miles outside of Amman, and at about 4 a.m. on November 17, 2021, they brought him to the refugee camp in central-eastern Jordan, he told CPJ.
Awad told CPJ that his transfer document says he is banned from leaving the camp, and that authorities have not disclosed any reason for his arrest or any charges against him since his arrest. He told CPJ in September 2022 that he has no health issues in custody.
Reached by CPJ via email for comment about Awad’s case, UNHCR spokesperson in Amman, Roland Schönbauer, said, “In line with our data protection policy, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, does not share details about individual refugees or asylum-seekers. UNHCR follows up on all cases brought to its attention and tries to facilitate solutions.”
CPJ emailed Jordan’s Public Security Directorate and the ministry of interior in September 2022, but did not receive any replies.