(Reuters) – Jordan arrested the deputy head of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday for criticizing the UAE’s move to designate the Islamist political movement and its local affiliates a terrorist group, official sources said.
Zaki Bani Rushaid was detained shortly after a late night meeting at the party’s headquarters in Amman, these people said, marking the first arrest of a major political opposition figure in Jordan in recent years.
The state security prosecutor general ordered his arrest on charges of “souring relations with a friendly country” after he wrote an opinion column attacking the Gulf state’s role in a regional crackdown on political Islam, the sources said.
Jordan has long clamped down on dissent against Gulf monarchies that are political allies and the kingdom’s main financial backers.
In the column that appeared on various websites and in social media, Bani Rusheid said UAE rulers were “the first sponsor of terrorism and had no legitimacy.” It was published shortly after the UAE on Saturday formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.