Prominent Jordanian government critic dead at 80

Leith Shubeilat was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a former MP

Jordanian opposition figure Leith Shubeilat. Reuters
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Prominent Jordanian government critic Leith Shubeilat, known as Abu Farhan, died on Sunday aged 80, following a cardiac arrest.

Born in 1942, Mr Shubeilat studied civil engineering at the American University of Beirut where he graduated in 1964, before pursuing a master's degree from George Washington University four years later.

He was elected as the head of the Jordanian Engineers Association in 1982, Al Roya reported.

He was jailed in 1995 on "lese majeste" charges — offending a head of state — against King Hussein bin Talal, according to Amnesty International.

In 1998 he was arrested again, after speaking at a mosque in Jordan on charges of inciting an illegal demonstration, Human Rights Watch said, asking for his release at the time.

In 2009, Mr Shubeilat claimed that he was beaten by armed men and subsequently hospitalised, after criticising Jordan's peace treaty with Israel.

Mr Shubeilat, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, appeared in a public forum two weeks before his death, criticising the state of political Islam.

"We are being defeated. We are the ones who have defeated the Islamist movement," he said.

"We often point to the west and the governments for where we are today but it is certainly us who are to blame for what has become of the Islamist movements."

Three-day funeral processions are being held.

Updated: December 19, 2022, 1:44 PM