Jordan orders media gag on case involving ex-crown prince

By Nehal El-Sherif

AMMAN  – Jordan’s top prosecutor on Tuesday (6)  banned the publication of any information or material relating to a case in which ex-crown prince Hamzah Bin Al-Hussein is accused of being involved in a plot to destabilize the kingdom.

The ban aims to preserve the secrecy of the investigations conducted by the security services, the official Petra news agency said, citing a statement from the prosecutor.

“The ban includes audio and visual media and social networking sites, and the publication and circulation of any pictures or videos related to this topic,” read the statement.

The government said it had, over the weekend foiled a destabilizing plot involving Prince Hamzah, King Abdullah’s half-brother.

Authorities said on Sunday (4) investigations had showed there were movements by Hamzah and others that were targeting the kingdom’s stability and security, and that they were in contact with “foreign parties”. Several high-profile individuals have since been arrested.

The Jordanian army denied Hamzah was under house arrest, but that he was asked to refrain from activities that could be damaging to the kingdom’s stability.

In recorded videos, Hamzah said the army told him not to leave his house or communicate with anyone.

Two audio recordings by Hamzah have been circulating on social media since Saturday (3). One is of a conversation between Hamzah and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Yousef Ahmed al-Hunaiti.

These recordings have been praised by some Jordanians, who praised his defiant tone and condemnation of corruption in the country.

Hamzah, 41, is a popular figure in Jordan and his social gatherings with senior tribesmen are welcomed by many as a reflection of his closeness to the people.

He was Jordan’s crown prince between 1999 and 2004, when Abdullah removed him and appointed his own son, al-Hussein.

On Monday (5) night, the royal court released a statement signed by Hamzah, in which he affirmed his loyalty to King Abdullah.

The statement came after mediation by the king’s and Hamzah’s uncle, Prince Hassan, in a bid to put an end to a rare public dispute within the Jordanian royal family.

However, it remains unclear how the case will proceed, after 16 to 18 people have been arrested, according to Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi.

Arab monarchies and governments expressed full support to Abdullah and his efforts to maintain stability in the kingdom.

On Tuesday, al-Safadi said he held “in-depth brotherly talks” with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan.

Faisal, who arrived in Jordan on Monday, carried a message from Saudi King Salman to Abdullah asserting Riyadh’s support to Amman “in the face of all challenges.”




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