Jordan’s former crown prince ‘under house arrest’

The half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah said he has been placed under house arrest and accused the country’s leadership of corruption and incompetence.

In a videotaped statement leaked to the BBC, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein said he was visited early on Saturday by the country’s military chief and told, “I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them.”

He said his security detail was removed, and his phone and internet service had been cut. He said he was speaking over satellite internet but expected that service to be cut as well.

The BBC said it received the statement from Hamzah’s lawyer. In the statement, Hamzah said he had been informed he was being punished for taking part in meetings in which the king had been criticised, though he was not accused of being a direct critic.

He said he told the army chief: “I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, for 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 by the year. I am not responsible for the lack of faith that people have in their institutions. They are responsible.”

The country’s top general had earlier denied that Hamzah – a former crown prince stripped of the title in 2004 – was arrested or under house arrest, even as authorities announced the arrests of former senior officials close to the ruling monarchy.

Hamzah was asked to “stop some movements and activities that are being used to target Jordan’s security and stability”, said Gen Yousef Huneiti, the army chief of staff.

He said an investigation was ongoing and its results would be made public “in a transparent and clear form”.

“No one is above the law and Jordan’s security and stability are above all,” he told the official Petra news agency.

Petra had earlier reported that two senior officials who formerly worked for the palace, along with other suspects, had been arrested for “security reasons”, without providing further details.

The Petra report said Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, a former head of the royal court, were detained. – AP

The Irish Times

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