Thu, 15 Apr 2021

Jordan bans reporting on alleged royal plot, arrests

Robert Besser
07 Apr 2021, 04:29 GMT+10

AMMAN, Jordan: Jordan has prohibited all news organizations and social media from publishing stories about King Abdullah's half-brother Prince Hamza, who has been accused of conspiring with anti-government groups.

Late on Monday, however, Hamza pledged allegiance to Jordan's King Abdullah, after consultations with the royal family.

Two days earlier, the military warned Hamza about actions it described as undermining "security and stability" in Jordan, and placed him under house arrest.

"To safeguard the secrecy of the investigations being undertaken by the security services in relation to His Highness Prince Hamza bin Hussain and others, Amman's public prosecutor has decided to ban the publication of everything related to the investigations at this stage," the state news agency reported.

In the past, Jordan has prevented reporting news on cases that are deemed sensitive.

Prince Hamza, however, said in a voice recording released by Jordan's opposition on Monday that he would not cooperate in barring him from any activity and being told to remain quiet.

Prince Hamza, who had been heir to the throne until King Abdullah removed him from the position in 2004, is accused of meeting with people linked to a plot to destabilize Jordan, noting that he had been under investigation for some time.

Jordan's Prince Hamzah strikes defiant tone over palace turmoil

In recent weeks, Hamza visited tribal gatherings where the king and his government have been criticized, as he might have been seen to be seeking to promote himself with the Jordanian public, after being sidelined following his removal as crown prince. No evidence of this however has emerged.

Meanwhile, the state news agency reported that those arrested included Bassem Awadallah, a U.S.-educated confidant of the king who became minister of finance and adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and royal family member Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid.

Since news of the anti-government activities was released, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan delivered a message reaffirming Saudi support for Jordan, the Jordanian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The Saudi minister also arrived in Amman on Monday to meet with his Jordanian counterpart.

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