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Al al Bayt student activist given ‘first warning’ over Facebook post

Post comments on investigation of four students earlier this month for organising Al Aqsa solidarity march on campus

By Suzanna Goussous - Aug 17,2017 - Last updated at Aug 17,2017

AMMAN — Al al Bayt University student Shadi Qteish received “a first warning” over a Facebook post published on his account last week, which the university officials said “helped spread false information”, according to the student.

The Facebook post discussed the story of the four activist students who were under investigation for organising a solidarity march on campus, which the university’s deanship of student affairs had requested postponing it for a day or two.

The march was organised in solidarity with Al Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Jerusalem and followed the killing of two Jordanians by an Israeli embassy staffer. 

Following the march, four students from the university were placed under investigation.

The university said the investigation was  launched because the students had organised the event without the approval of the university and deanship.

Qteish, who is a member of the Arab Renewal Bloc, said the act limits freedoms of activists and political parties on and off campuses.

“When we ask for reform, we demand reform for the political scene in Jordan, not limiting freedoms of those working to progress,” the 23-year-old said.

The incriminating Facebook post stated: “Referred to investigation and signing a pledge after organising a march for Al Aqsa [Mosque], it’s no big deal, some people sacrifice themselves for Al Aqsa and Palestine.”

The computer science student, who is expected to graduate this semester, said some of the comments criticised the policies of the university.

“After signing a pledge, I wrote the post on my Facebook account and then, I was given a warning for narrating events,” he told The Jordan Times.

“Social media are important for us as activists to spread knowledge and awareness but, this time, it has backfired,” Qteish added. 

Omar Otein, dean of Student Affairs at Al al Bayt University, said the student wrote “false information” in the post, which was seen by many social media users, most of whom are also activists and university students.

“Although they had gone against our request and continued with the protest, we looked at the bigger picture and joined them… they had the support of university officials, but posting wrong information on Facebook is not acceptable,” the dean said.

He added that many rumors were spread saying that the student had been expelled for a semester, but that the student was only given a first warning.

There are several stages of punishments, Otein said, depending on the act committed: there are three warnings before strict measures are taken, followed by making the student fail a course, and finally expelling the student for one semester or more.

 

He said social media networks are being used incorrectly, which increases problems among people: “If they were used to give constructive criticism, we would gladly accept them,” he concluded.

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