Jordan. In April, 24 political parties were dissolved in
accordance with a 2007 law that stipulated that each party
must be instituted by at least 500 members from at least
five different provinces. Only twelve of the country's 36
parties were allowed to continue operating.
In May, the State Security Court sentenced three men to
15 years in prison each for plans to murder U.S. President
George W. Bush during his visit in J. 2006. At first, the
three were sentenced to death, but it was immediately
converted to prison. Nine other men who were previously
sentenced to death for planning terror attacks also had
their sentences converted to life. Four of these were
convicted in his absence, among them al-Qaeda leader in
Iraq, Abu Musab az-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US air
strike in 2006.
Countryaah reports, King Abdullah became the first Arab head of state to
visit Iraq on August 11. The visit, which was not announced
in advance, lasted four hours. Relations between
Shiite-dominated Iraq and Sunnis-dominated J. had been
strained since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Hundreds
of Iraqi refugees are living in difficult conditions in J.
Two human rights organizations, Amnesty International and
the Jordanian National Center for Human Rights, reported
harsh conditions for foreign guest-working women in J. In
the fall, the women, most maids from Southeast or South
Asia, were subjected to abuse and sexual abuse by their
employers. They were forced to work up to 20 hours in a row,
sometimes without pay for several years. Embassies of
Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka opened sheltered
housing for women who have moved their employers. There were
40,000 registered foreign maids in J. but many more were
there illegally. In January, the Philippines banned its
citizens from traveling to J. to work.