A leading human rights organisation has called on the government to close the remote Jafr prison, located in an isolated desert area nearly 256 km south of the capital, Amman.
"The prison is located in a far away and isolated location that is difficult to reach, and so the inmate loses the opportunity to contact his family," stated a report released this week by the state-financed National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR), a quasi-governmental body. "The visits become a punishment also for their families due to the distance and cost of reaching [the prison]," stated the report, also noting that there was a perception among detainees that incarceration at Jafr was "an extra punishment."
The interesting bit about the report for me is that the concern came this time from a local human rights watch, something which might carry more weight in the eyes of Jordanians, as external pressure is hardly embraced in Jordan without scrutiny. And here is the official denial:
"Any allegations about beatings or torture are totally false, as there is no torture in Jordanian prisons," said police spokesman Maj Muhanad Shareida. "But some of the legitimate complaints in the report will be addressed by the appropriate authorities," he added.
Frankly, I find it hard to believe that torture does not exist in Jordanian prisons. Just last month the Washington Post revealed that some terrorism suspects held by the US are sent specifically to Jordan to be tortured. Oh well!