Jordan king restricts movement of 'seditious' Prince Hamzah

Jordan king restricts movement of 'seditious' Prince Hamzah
In an unusually personal and candid letter, King Abdullah placed new restrictions on former Crown Prince Hamzah.
2 min read
19 May, 2022
Prince Hamzah has remained under virtual house arrest since the foiling of his 'seditious plot' in April 2021.

Jordan's King Abdullah II issued new restrictions on Prince Hamzah communications with the outside world and movement, a year after the latter allegedly tried to overthrow the king.

Prince Hamzah - the king's half-brother - has remained under virtual house arrest since April 2021, when Jordanian authorities claimed to have foiled a 'seditious plot' to replace the sitting monarch.

Hamzah, along with former minister Bassam Awadallah and royal family member Sherif Hassan bin Zaid, were accused of trying to 'destabalise the kingdom'.

The latter two are serving jail sentences and are alleged to have collaborated with foreign powers - namely Saudi Arabia - to dethrone King Abdullah.

The new restrictions placed on Prince Hamzah came with a lengthy and uncharacteristically candid letter written by the king. The royal court has been mum on details of the prince's status within the royal family since his arrest until now.

In the letter, King Abdullah bemoans Prince Hamzah "ignoring facts and hard evidence", and for "prioritising his interests over that of the homeland".

The king says that while he tried to resolve the conflict between Hamzah and himself and provide “steps to restore trust,” Hamzah refused to abide by the steps.

Instead, he claimed that Hamzah continued to stir trouble, citing an event at the end of Ramadan when the prince apparently tried to incite his guards to end his detention.

He also complained that Prince Hamzah abandoned his royal title without consulting him, as the king is the only one able to bestow and take away royal titles. On 3 April, the prince announced on Twitter that he was renouncing his title, citing his disagreement with Jordan's leadership.

He added that Hamzah later privately asked him to allow him to continue to receive the logistical and financial benefits of being a royal, despite his renunciation of the title.

Prince Hamzah was the former crown prince, before King Abdullah appointed his son, Hussein, as the royal heir. 

He is a popular figure particularly among Jordan's tribes, for his seemingly down-to-earth style and airing of popularly held grievances. When he was arrested, Hamzah leaked a series of videos bemoaning the way Jordan is ruled and what he depicted as endemic corruption.

Jordan's has a high rate of unemployment and protests over economic issues are frequent. 

Prince Hamzah has remained a notable figure after his arrest, with tribal elements depicting him as a figure of noble suffering. His mother, former queen Noor, sporadically shares updates about her son.