AMMAN - Jordan's King Abdullah on Sunday pardoned 20 tribal opposition activists detained and charged with insulting the monarch, officials said, after complaints that the charges violated their freedom of expression.
The king announced the pardon to tribal elders from the city of Tafila, an impoverished region in the south, who met him at his palace and asked for the release of the detainees, most of whom came from Tafila, officials said.
Eight of the activists were arrested almost seven weeks ago, after months of protests by tribal youths venting their frustrations against the royal palace, whose opponents portray it as detached from their everyday lives and problems.
The others were arrested after a sit-in near the prime minister's office two weeks ago, when protesters refused to stop chanting anti-government slogans at a rally demanding the release of the eight Tafila detainees.
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