High-Profile Figures In Jordan Arrested For 'Security Reasons'

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 4, 2021

The new king named Hamzah, who was believed to have been the favourite of Hussein's 11 children, the Crown Prince, making him next in line.

The "thorough, intensive and comprehensive investigations" were carried out by the Jordan Armed Forces, the Public Security Directorate and the General Intelligence Directorate, Safadi said. He said that satellite internet, his remaining mode of communication, was also under threat.

The minister explained that Prince Hamzah and those close to him had contacted Jordanian opposition overseas and activists and figures in the country to join them.

He said he was being detained for associating with individuals accused of criticizing the king.

"[Jordanians'] wellbeing has been put second by a ruling system that has decided that its personal interests, financial interests, that its corruption is more important than the lives and dignity and future of the 10 million people who live here", he said.

"I'm not part of any conspiracy or nefarious organisation or foreign-backed group, as is always the claim here for anyone who speaks out", he said.

Safadi spoke a day after Hamzah, a half brother of King Abdullah II, was placed under house arrest, in a rare public clash between top members of the long-ruling family.

Hamzah is a popular figure in Jordan.

Hamzah is the son of the late King Hussein and his fourth wife, the US-born Queen Noor.

Although there were no signs of open rivalry between the two half-brothers, Hamza did criticise government policy in 2018, accusing officials of "failed management" after the approval of an income tax law, Al Jazeera reported.

Prince Hamza later said he was under house arrest.

He also said that King Abdullah II met with his half-brother yesterday night and "ordered him to stop all actions that targeted Jordan's security and stability", to which Hamzah "responded negatively".

"No one is above the law, and Jordan's security and stability is above any consideration".

Others detained on Saturday include Bassem Awadallah, a former finance minister, and Sharif Hassan Bin Zaid, a member of the royal family.

The agency did not provide further details or name the others who were arrested.

King Abdullah has ruled the country since the death of his father, King Hussein, in 1999. Abdullah has cultivated close relations with U.S. and other Western leaders over the years, and Jordan was a key ally in the war against the Islamic State group.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Arab countries across the Middle East issued strong statements in favour of Abdullah.

The US state department has already offered the king, who has cultivated close relations with Washington and been a key ally in the war against Islamic State, its "full support".

"The kingdom affirms its full support, with all its capabilities, to all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah and His Highness Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, the Crown Prince, to maintain security and stability", the Saudi royal court said in a statement. He also pointed to the decline in Jordan's economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jordan, which is now under a nightly covid curfew that is set to expire in mid-May, has been hit hard economically by the coronavirus pandemic as well as by the fallout from massive waves of refugees from neighboring Syria.

Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994.

Kuwait's foreign ministry expressed its support to all measures taken by King Abdullah and his crown prince to maintain the security and stability of Jordan, adding "the security and stability of the kingdom are that of Kuwait".

"Jordan is normally a stable Arab kingdom that has been a staunch ally of countries in Europe and the United States, particularly when it comes to counterterrorism cooperation in the Middle East", Sweis said.

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