Jordan ex-lawmaker pleads not guilty to charges

A former Jordanian lawmaker pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of harming the government's reputation, heading an illegal organization and illegally distributing leaflets. Ahmad Oweidi al-Abbadi, the head of a small right-wing party called the Jordanian National Movement, was arrested May 3 and interrogated for over two months until the case was referred by the district attorney to the military prosecutor for a fresh round of questioning. Last month, the Jordanian military prosecutor raised the charges, which include counts of harming state dignity, slandering officials and violating laws on e-mail practices. Al-Abbadi's party has said he was detained because of an April e-mail he sent to US Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, in which he decried an allegedly steep increase in corruption among top Jordanian officials.