Nidal al-Faraaneh

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Al-Faraaneh, publisher of Jfra News, and Mu’ala, its editor-in-chief, were arrested by Jordanian security forces and taken to Juwaida prison, according to the website. Jfra News covers general news and culture in the region.

The prosecutor charged the journalists under Article 118 of the Jordanian penal code with disturbing relations with foreign states, news reports said. Agence France-Presse reported, citing an unnamed security official, that the charges carry up to five years in prison.

Jfra News said in a statement posted to its website on September 22, 2013, that the journalists were arrested after the website had reposted a certain video.

Jfra News manager Samer Khatib told AFP that the video, which is no longer available on the website, was called “Son of (former) Qatari emir in sex scandal with Israeli woman.” According to the AFP report, the video contains no sexual content and shows “a man wearing a baseball cap, tank top and a pair of jeans talking to a fully clothed woman on a bed.”

Several versions of the video are available on YouTube. Some only show the bed scene, while others also purportedly show the royal family member dancing, showering, and groping women. The videos have been viewed thousands of times and most have been online since 2012.

Jfra News denied having any intention of insulting the “brotherly state of Qatar” in its statement.

The journalists’ case was transferred to the State Security Court, which has refused to release them on bail, according to news reports. Al-Faraaneh and Mu’ala were being held in the Hashemite Prison of Zarqa after being transferred from Juwaida Prison, news reports said.

The trial was ongoing in late 2013.