AMMAN: Jordan said on Sunday it had foiled a plot to “destabilise” the kingdom involving a half-brother of King Abdullah II and arrested at least 16 suspects.
Hamzah bin Hussein — a former crown prince stripped of that title by the monarch in 2004 — and the others had worked with foreign parties to “undermine the security” of Jordan, Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said.
Washington, Gulf allies and the Arab League were quick to stress their support for Abdullah’s pro-Western government in Amman.
Prince Hamzah, 41, on Saturday released a video message via the BBC in which he accused Jordan’s rulers of nepotism and corruption and charged that he had been placed under house arrest.
Hamzah in his message — sent via a satellite link from his Amman palace — lashed out at Jordan’s “ruling system” and said several of his friends had been arrested, his security detail removed and his internet and phone lines cut.
He denied being part of “any conspiracy or nefarious organisation” but said the country of 10 million people had “become stymied in corruption, in nepotism and in misrule” and that nobody was allowed to criticise the authorities.
Official news agency Petra said among those arrested for “security reasons” were former close aides to the royal family Bassem Awadallah, chief of the royal court in 2007-2008, and Sherif Hassan bin Zaid.
Safadi, who is also the foreign minister, said on Sunday an additional 14 to 16 suspects had been arrested. He said security service had monitored “contacts with foreign parties aiming to destabilise Jordan’s security,” including an alleged offer to spirit Hamzah’s wife out of the country.