Jordan releases cartoonist held over UAE drawing
Hajjaj was arrested over a cartoon mocking UAE-Israel normalization deal
Jordan on Sunday decided to release a cartoonist held for drawing a cartoon mocking a recent deal to normalize relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel.
Emad Hajjaj was arrested by Jordanian police on charges of insulting an Arab country after he drew a caricature that mocks UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as Israel refused to allow the UAE to buy F-35 warplanes from the US despite Abu Dhabi's normalization deal with Tel Aviv.
“The Judiciary has ordered Hajjaj’s release,” his lawyer Marwan Salem told Anadolu Agency.
The lawyer, however, did not give any further details, and there was no comment from Jordanian authorities on the report.
On Friday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Jordanian authorities to immediately release Hajjaj and to drop the charges against him.
On Aug. 13, the UAE and Israel announced a US-brokered agreement to normalize their relations, including opening embassies in each other's territory.
Palestinian groups, including the Palestinian Authority, have denounced the UAE-Israel deal, saying it does not serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of Palestinians.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara