Jordanian court eases sentence against dissolved teacher's union
A Jordanian court on Sunday dismissed ongoing prosecutions against the Jordan Teachers' Syndicate (JTS) - the kingdom's largest labour union.
The court ruled in favour of an appeal lodged by the syndicate and overturned the decision of the Amman Magistrate’s Court issued on December 31, 2020, to dissolve the union. The appeal court however confirmed the dissolution of the union's various organs, including the council that leads it.
"We respect the court’s decision, but it indicates that the animosity against the syndicate and the charges brought against the members of the union’s council are still there," human rights activist Hala Ahed told Jordan News.
Separately, syndicate members appealed a one-year prison sentence for illegal assembly and inciting hatred at educational institutions, a sentence that Amman's court of First Instance upheld but reduced to three months in jail.
The union was shut down on 25 July 2020 after its leadership was accused of misappropriating funds, an accusation that was largely seen as politically motivated.
The JTS is Jordan's strongest labour union, with 140,000 members prior to its dissolution. Its leaders are close to the Muslim Brotherhood, the most powerful opposition force in the kingdom.
In the autumn of 2019, the union organised a month-long nationwide strike asking for better wages. However, promised raises were cancelled by Jordanian authorities during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting teachers to take to the streets.
Up to 1,000 protesters were arrested during demonstrations against the government's decision to close the union. Authorities also issued a gag order on all media coverage of teachers' protests around that time, with the ensuing arrests of several journalists.