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Jordan to diminish tasks of military court

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September 1, 2013 03:10 PM EST | AP

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AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan says it will sharply diminishing the duties of its powerful military court in line with promised state reforms to allow for wider freedom of expression.

Spearheading the reforms, Jordan's King Abdullah II has called for amending a law governing the tasks of the no-jury tribunal, officially known as the State Security Court.

Reformists criticize the court as a government tool to muzzle them.

Information Minister Mohammad Momani said the amended draft law, which will be debated in the elected parliament, was unanimously endorsed by Cabinet Monday.

He said out of 17 crimes previously under its jurisdiction, the military court would now only have authority over matters related to terrorism, espionage, treason, illegal drugs and currency counterfeiting.

Reformist activist Assef Nasser said it was a "step in the right direction."