Half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah II said he has been placed under house arrest and accused the kingdom’s ‘ruling system’ of corruption, incompetence and harassment.
Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein’s videotaped statement on Saturday came after Jordan’s military denied reports of the former crown prince’s arrest, but said he had been asked to “stop some movements and activities that are being used to target Jordan’s security and stability”.
Prince Hamzah said he was ”not part of or aware of any conspiracy”.
Who is Prince Hamzah?
Prince Hamzah, Jordan’s former crown prince, is a popular figure in the country.
He is seen as religious and modest, in touch with the common people and similar to his father, the late King Al Hussein bin Talal.
He has criticised the government in the past, accusing officials of “failed management” after they approved an income tax law in 2018.
Prince Hamzah became crown prince when his father passed away in 1999. However, King Abdullah II stripped him of this title five years later and gave it to his eldest son.
Jordan’s security forces arrested several high profile figures as part of a continuing security investigation and warned Prince Hamzah against actions targeting the kingdom’s stability.
Videos posted online showed a heavy police deployment in the Dabouq neighbourhood near the royal palaces.
In a video, Prince Hamzah said he was told to stay at home and not contact anyone, adding that he was not part of any foreign conspiracy and denounced the ruling system as corrupt.
Prince Hamzah said he had been informed he was being punished for taking part in meetings in which the king had been criticised, though he said he was not accused of joining in the criticism.
What did the military say?
Army chief Yusef Huneiti denied reports of the prince being arrested but said he was told to “stop activities that are being exploited to target Jordan’s security and stability”.
He said the move was part of a broader, ongoing security investigation in which a former minister, a junior member of the royal family and unnamed others were detained.
The army chief also said the results of the investigation would be announced with transparency and clarity.
Who else was arrested?
The official Petra news agency reported that Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, a former head of the royal court, were detained.
The agency did not provide further details or name the others who were arrested.
The Washington Post, citing a senior Middle Eastern intelligence official, said as many as 20 people were arrested.
Jordan’s neighbours and allies supported the security moves.
The US said: “King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support.”
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Turkey, Iraq, and the Arab League all voiced support for King Abdullah II.
In a separate statement, Turkey said: “We do not see the stability and calm of Jordan, a country that is key to peace in the Middle East, as separate from Turkey’s stability and calm.”