Jordan’s unprecedented palace drama moves to court

Amman – This week, the Jordanian version of the Century Trial begins when Abdullah II’s relatives and former court chief are guided to the cage of a defendant in the National Security Court for charges of sedition and sedition.

They have been accused of colluding with the senior royal family (Prince Hamza, the king’s half-brother) to foster anxiety about the monarch while seeking foreign help.

A palace drama was released in early April when Hamza was under house arrest. Since then, it has defeated taboos in Jordan, causing turmoil through foreign capital, and Western forces have gathered behind Abdullah, an essential ally in unstable regions.

The incident exposed Jordan’s traditionally modest conflict with the Hashimite dynasty and caused unprecedented public criticism of the monarch. Defendants are usually persons at the highest level of facilities appearing in security courts tracking drug offenders or suspected extremists.


“As far as I know, there has never been such a big case in Jordan’s history,” said Ala Casaune, a defense lawyer. He said the trial could begin on Monday.

Hamza, 41, has not been charged, but is a central figure. In clashing stories, he never forgave Abdullah for being an ordinary Jordanian champion suffering from economic mismanagement and corruption, or for taking the title of Crown Prince in support of the king’s eldest son in 2004. Either of the dissatisfied royal family.

The indictment leaked to the state media claims that Hamza “decided to achieve his personal ambitions” to become king. It is written that the prince and the defendant-the royal family Sharif Hassan bin Zayed and the former royal adviser Basem Awadara-conspired to arouse dissatisfaction.

Security agencies began monitoring them in mid-March during the mass turmoil over oxygen outages at a hospital in the town of Salt, which killed eight coronavirus patients.


Hamza met the bereaved family shortly after the king visited Salt. The indictment alleged that the prince “used” the family’s pain to spread the populist message.

Hamza’s popularity stems from its ties to the Jordanian tribes, which are the basis of Hashemite rule. Atef Majari, a tribal leader in the town of Karak, said he and other Sheikh had met the prince more than a dozen times over the years, but denied that the king had been criticized in these cases. ..

The indictment alleged that Hamza and the two defendants were working on a social media message posted by the prince with the aim of “inciting some groups of society against the control system and state agencies.” ..

Hamza denied the allegations of sedition, alleging that he was punished for alleging corruption and mismanagement.

On April 3, when he was under house arrest, more than 12 tribes and public figures, including his chief of staff, were arrested. Only Awadallah and bin Zaid remain in custody.


The prince has no legal problems, and the king says the problem is being dealt with by his family and his half-brothers are taking care of him. The court declined to comment when asked if Hamza could leave Amman’s palace or communicate with others. Atef Majali said Hamzah staff are not allowed to return to work.

Mr. Casaune, who represents the king’s distant cousin Bin Zayed, said his client was “shocked” and will be acquitted. It was allegedly found in his home.

The lawyer said he would call Hamza to the stand, which could amplify the sensational nature of the trial. It is not clear whether the palace, eager to put down the crisis, will allow the prince to make his claim on such a public stage.

Khasawneh said his client plans to fight the indictment and ignored questions about the possibility of plea bargaining. During the security court trial, the defendant is standing in a court cage. Awadara and Bin Zyed are also expected to be trapped in cages in the blue uniforms of the detainees, said Afif, the former President of the State Security Court on behalf of Afif. Defendants detained in Amman intelligence face up to 20 years in prison.


In the days leading up to the trial, a broader story surfaced, albeit only hinted at indictment.

In this version, the alleged conspirator was the king’s perceived vulnerability when he was under pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia to accept the now abolished Middle East program of the Trump administration, often referred to as the Century’s Transaction. I sought foreign help to abuse my sexuality. Jordan does not undermine the historic role of the monarch as a guardian of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where the plan is the main shrine in Jerusalem in dispute and the pillars of Hashimite claim to be legitimate. He expressed concern.

Allegations to reach out to foreign countries focus on Awadara, who retains the citizenship of Jordan, the United States and Saudi Arabia, was once the official envoy of the Saudi king, and is closely associated with Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. I’m guessing.


In Jordan, Awadara has been plagued by suspicion of corruption, with widespread criticism of economic policies that are primarily believed to benefit the rich. In Riyadh, he was visibly involved in efforts to withdraw foreign investment.

The indictment alleges that Hamza and Bin Zyed invited Awadara to join them for his foreign relations. At one point, Hamza allegedly asked Awadara, “If something happens in Jordan, will the Saudi authorities help me?”

Jordan’s main financial supporter, Saudi Arabia, sent a foreign minister to the kingdom shortly after the crisis broke out and publicly reaffirmed its support for the king.

Jordan’s senator and former intelligence minister, Mohammed Momani, argued that there was a link between the sedition program and regional politics.

“When you see Jordan under pressure from its major allies for the trade of the century, you probably saw this as a beginning or possibility or opportunity to seek some help from the outside world. “Momani insisted. He said he was briefed on the investigation.


Momani claimed that when Bin Zayed approached the foreign embassy and alleged conspirators put their plans into practice, he “tried to ask them for their reaction,” but he was the ambassador. I didn’t specify the building.

Jordanian officials said the alleged plot was revealed in time but threatened stability.

Critics said the threat claims appeared to be exaggerated, noting that any plan would have required the assistance of security forces.

“I don’t see any evidence of this kind of trial,” said political analyst Amel Sabaile. He and Momani are one of 92 members of the Political Reform Commission formed by the King to deal with the crisis.

Sabaile said the story could have caused permanent damage.

“It opened the door of Hashimite so that the general public could look inside. No matter how it happened, I don’t think this is good,” he said. A kind of competition and revenge “



Contributed by Associated Press writer Amman’s Omar Akour and United Arab Emirates’ Dubai Aya Batrawy.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Jordan’s unprecedented palace drama moves to court

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