GenevaJordanian security services carried out a broad and targeted intimidation campaign against dozens of activists to force their resignation from a political party and discourage their political engagement, Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement.

Most Jordanian Partnership and Salvation Party members, particularly new members, faced serious security threats and harassment aimed at pressuring them to resign from their party positions.  The move appears to be intended to reduce membership, delegitimise the party, and eventually dissolve it completely.

After the Political Parties Law No. 7 of 2022 came into effect last May, the party was compelled to attract new members to rectify its legal status, as Jordanian law requires the number of founding party members at the time of its constituent conference to be at least a thousand people. The requirement prompted the party to recruit more members, and the security campaign began as soon as its membership grew to more than 1,080 (which allowed it to meet all legal requirements). The General Intelligence Department, Jordanian Armed Forces, and the country’s Special Branch targeted party members in various ways, both directly and indirectly, taking each targeted member’s social and familial status into account. This resulted in the resignation of approximately 300 party members.

   The practices of the country’s security services are a flagrant violation of Jordanians’ constitutional right to political participation   

According to various sources, security pressure included physical threats, travel bans, and dismissal from work in certain cases. The pressure campaign did not only affect party members, but also people in their social circles, including first-, second-, and third-degree relatives, particularly military and security personnel. This pressure caused rifts and conflict between family members in some cases, as party members came to be seen as preventing family members from retaining their current jobs or obtaining new ones. Several resignations due to the campaign occurred only a single day after party leaders turned over a list of members’ names to the Independent Electoral Commission—the body that supervises the Parties Registry Directorate—on 18 April in order to rectify the party’s legal status, raising suspicions that the electoral commission shared the names with security services.

“I joined the Partnership and Salvation Party [in June 2022]. A few months later, I was summoned by the intelligence service, which informed me, indirectly, that I needed to resign from the party,” KR, a party member, said in a statement to the Euro-Med Monitor team. “Two days later, security forces began harassing my brother, who works in one of the security services, and obtaining information about me from him, including the reasons for my party affiliation.” (The brother’s name, as well as the name of the agency he works for, has been withheld at KR’s request.)

KR said that several days later, the intelligence service used a mediator to demand that he leave the party, threatening to punish and harm his brother. “This put me under a lot of family pressure because, in their opinion, I became a risk factor for my brother and his job,” said KR. “I became a family and social outcast.” He decided to withdraw from the party to relieve the pressure, he said, and sent a copy of the withdrawal form to the intelligence service, as well as another copy to the security agency where his brother worked in order to protect him from any punitive measures.

“Despite my withdrawal from the party, the security agency punished my brother by transferring him to another agency and threatening him with dismissal, so I retracted my withdrawal and restored my membership in the party,” KR explained. He stated that he is now under new pressure from the country’s intelligence service, which has resulted in restrictions at his workplace, which is a governmental office. “I am not considering leaving the party,” he added, “and I will continue to exercise my constitutional right.”

The intelligence service communicated with party members in some cases, sending them ready-made withdrawal forms, which Euro-Med Monitor was able to review, to sign and withdraw from the party. “I received a call from a first lieutenant in intelligence asking me to resign from the party. He then sent me a printed resignation form, [and] instructed me to sign it and mail it to the party’s headquarters via some company,” said MA, another member of the Partnership and Salvation Party, to Euro-Med Monitor.

MA refused to sign the form, however, and instead informed the lieutenant of his intention to remain in the party. “He called me several times after that, repeating the same request with veiled threats, but I informed him of my firm refusal to resign,” MA added. He said he expects punitive measures to be taken against him, including “summons, security detention, work restrictions, and deprivation of [certain] rights”, as well as the potential for pressure to be put on relatives who work in public jobs.

The practices of the country’s security services are a flagrant violation of Jordanians’ constitutional right to political participation. They also contradict official directives and laws that authorise organised partisan work in Jordan, particularly the Political Parties Law, which took effect last year. Jordanian authorities are evidently trying to suppress the opposition and thwart efforts to form influential political parties through subtle means, as they implement these practices quietly. Yet, this does not change the fact that the practices violate Jordan’s constitution and relevant international obligations.

Euro-Med Monitor urges Jordanian authorities to immediately halt any pressure campaigns aimed at forcing members of the Partnership and Salvation Party or any other party to resign as members or from leadership positions, such as by imposing punitive measures on individuals and their relatives as punishment for party affiliation. Jordanian authorities must respect people’s right to freedom of expression, political participation, and the formation of parties and associations as per applicable laws, and stop prosecuting them for simply exercising their legitimate constitutional rights.