Jordan jails top Salafist leader for nine years over protest

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Jordan’s state security court on Tuesday sentenced a top Salafist leader to nine years in prison for “sedition” during 2011 protests.

Abed Shehadeh, known as Abu Mohammad Tahawi, was found guilty of “actions inciting opposition to the government” at the demonstrations in the northern Zarqa region.

Clashes broke out on April 15, 2011 on the margins of a rally organized by Tahawi, in which protesters called for the release of detained Salafists, who follow an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam.

The violence left 91 people injured, the majority of them security personnel, according to official figures.

They coincided with anti-government protests in cities across Jordan.

Some 150 Salafists were put on trial in August 2011 on charges including leading riots, “terrorist acts” and “illegal acts of destruction”.

The majority are being tried in absentia.

Tahawi has been detained since his arrest in December 2015.