Jordan journalist detained over Covid story released on bail
Jordan authorities have released on bail a journalist, jailed last week for publishing a story on the Covid-19 vaccine, according to local reports on Tuesday.
Jamal Haddad, editor of news website Al-Wakaai, was detained on Thursday after alleging that government officials received vaccines for the Covid-19 virus, which is sweeping through the kingdom.
Jordan has ordered a million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine with the first shipment due to arrive next month or February, according to the kingdom's health ministry.
Haddad was jailed last week by state security for breaking the Prevention of Terrorism Law after writing a story entitled, "What about the people? Did the Pfizer [vaccine] arrive in secret, and have senior officials in the Jordanian government been vaccinated?"
Jordanian authorities claimed that Haddad had revealed undisclosed information in the story and his jailing has caused outrage in the kingdom.
Jordan announced in mid-December that it had approved emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
A source close to Haddad's family told AFP on Saturday that the journalist had been transferred to hospital a day earlier "for high blood pressure and chest pain".
On Tuesday, Jordan's State Security Court agreed to temporarily release Haddad after a request from the Jordan Press Association, which also covered the journalist's bail bond.
The country's journalists' syndicate called for Haddad's immediate release, saying his arrest "harms Jordan's image" and called for his case to be judged in a civilian court.
Jordan has been under scrutiny for the jailing of other media workers, including renowned cartoonist Emad Hajjaj, who was later released.
Two other journalists were also detained for covering protests by striking school teachers in August.
While Jordan initially prevented a major breakout of the coronavirus, the disease has recently spread through the kingdom with 290,000 cases of the disease and 3,778 deaths reported so far.
Agencies contributed to this story.