Jordanian poet Islam Samhan sentenced to one year in jail

CAIRO, June 25, 2009 (ANHRI) — The Jordanian court issued a ruling sentencing poet Islam Samhan, 27-years-old, to one year in prison and fining him 10,000 Jordanian Dinars (14,000 US). He was accused of ridiculing Islam and not registering his publication at the Jordanian department of printing and publishing.

In March 2008, Islam published his collection of poems "Rahaqet Dhel," (Gracefulness of a Shadow). He faced a campaign led by Muslim Brotherhood and the Jordanian Mufti accusing him of blasphemy because of some verses he wrote. The campaign resulted in Samhan being prosecuted and detained for 15 days on October 19, 2008.

However, Samhan said that he had registered his book in the National Library and submitted copies at the Jordanian department of printing and publishing in early 2009, and that some ministries and government institutes bought copies of it.

"It is not at all about blasphemy, but because of the poem " When features are that clear," which described dim-witted intelligence people, who convince  Arab rulers that their own people are but a senseless pile of lumber."

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has condemned the sentence and considers it "an explicit assertion of blasphemy."