Jordan refers 2 to security court over alleged foreign plot
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan has referred the cases of two former senior officials accused of taking part in a foreign plot linked to the half-brother of King Abdullah II to a national security court, the official Petra news agency reported Tuesday.
Bassem Awadallah, a former Cabinet minister and one-time head of the royal court, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, were swept up in a wave of arrests in April. Prince Hamzah, a former crown prince, was placed under a form of house arrest.
The government accused them of being part of a foreign plot to undermine the stability of the country, which is a close Western ally. Hamzah denied being part of any conspiracy and said he was targeted for speaking out against corruption and poor governance. At one point authorities imposed a gag order on all media coverage of the dispute, underscoring its sensitivity.
Abdullah later said he had resolved the matter with his half-brother through mediation within the royal family and that Hamzah was in his own home under the king’s protection. All of those arrested were released except for Awadallah and Hassan.
Hamzah’s exact whereabouts and status are unknown.
Jordanian officials have not provided any details about the alleged plot or the foreign country or countries involved. They have not detailed the allegations against either former official.
Abdullah and Hamzah are both sons of the late King Hussein, who died in 1999. Upon ascending to the throne, Abdullah named Hamzah as crown prince, only to revoke the title five years later. While the two are said to have generally good relations, Hamzah has at times spoken out against government policies, and more recently had forged ties with powerful tribal leaders in a move seen as a threat to the king.