Jordan ‘foils coup attempt involving royal family members, senior officials’

Jordan ‘foils coup attempt involving royal family members, senior officials’
Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was escorted by guards from his Amman palace and taken for questioning over an alleged plot to overthrow the king.
3 min read
03 April, 2021
The royal served as crown prince for four years [Getty]
A former Jordanian crown prince was among nearly 20 people detained by authorities on Saturday, in what reports said was linked to a prolonged plot to topple the regime

Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was escorted from his Amman palace amid an ongoing probe into a “threat to the country’s stability,” The Washington Post reported, citing a senior Middle East intelligence official.

The prince, the oldest son of the late King Hussein is allegedly thought to be involved in plans to overthrow his older half brother, King Abdullah II, the report added.

No details have been released to reveal the full extent of the plot, however the source said it was “well-organised” and involved “foreign” elements. 

In a statement, the Jordanian chief of staff, Major General Yusef Ahmed Al-Huneiti, appeared to corroborate the news though fell short of confirming his arrest.

"Prince Hamzah was asked to halt movements and activities that target Jordan's security and stability," Al-Huneiti said.

Official state agency Petra News said “His Royal Highness Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein is not under house arrest nor is he detained, as reported by some media outlets.”

However, a video passed to the BBC by the prince's lawyer confirmed he is currently under house arrest.

"I had a visit from chief of general staff of the Jordanian armed forces this morning in which he informed me that I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them because in the meetings that I had been present in - or on social media relating to visits that I had made - there had been criticism of the government or the king," the prince said in the video, according to the BBC.

"I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, the corruption and for the incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse... And I am not responsible for the lack of faith people have in their institutions," he said.

"It has reached a point where no one is able to speak or express opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened," the royal added.

Meanwhile, state news said investigations are ongoing and results will be disclosed with full transparency and clarity.

Sharif Hasan, also a member of the royal family, and Saudi citizen and former head of the Jordanian Royal Hashemite Court, Bassem Awadullah, were also arrested.

Wapo said at least one other Jordanian royal, tribal leaders and members of the security establishment are among those involved in the plot against the king.

The royal served as Jordan’s crown prince for four years before being stripped of the title to make way for the current monarch’s eldest son, Hussein.

King Abdullah has remained in power since King Hussein’s death in 1999, though the monarch has in recent years faced an economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries.

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