Jordan: The high-profile “sedition” suspect begins trial | Abdullah II News

Jordan’s trial of this century has begun because the relatives of King Abdullah II and the former president of the Royal Court were taken to the defendant’s cell in the National Security Court and faced charges Incitement and incitement.

On Monday, these individuals were accused of conspiring with a senior royal family member-the king’s half-brother Prince Hamza-to incite unrest against the monarch while seeking foreign help.

“As far as I know, there has never been such a big case in Jordan’s history,” said defense lawyer Ala Khasawneh. The national news agency Petra confirmed that the trial began on Monday.

In early April, when Hamza was under house arrest, court drama broke out. Since then, it has broken Jordan’s taboos and caused an uproar in foreign capitals. Western powers support Abdullah, A powerful ally in the region.

case Exposed competition The Hashemite dynasty, traditionally prudent in Jordan, has provoked unprecedented public criticism of the monarch. The defendant is the most senior agency figure to appear in the security court, which usually hunts down drug offenders or members of armed groups.

Hamzah, 41, is the central figure, although he has not faced charges. In conflicting narratives, he is either a supporter of everyday Jordanians suffering from economic mismanagement and corruption, or a dissatisfied royal family member who never forgave Abdullah for depriving him in 2004 The title of crown prince and gave it to his eldest son.

The indictment leaked to the official media stated that Hamza was “determined to realize his personal ambitions to become king”. It said the prince and the defendant-royal family member Sharif Hassan bin Zaid and former royal adviser Bassem Avadala-conspired to arouse dissatisfaction.

Security agencies began monitoring them in mid-March, when the public’s oxygen interruption at a hospital in Salt town caused an uproar that resulted in the death of eight coronavirus patients.

After the king visited the saltworks, Hamza met with the bereaved family members. The indictment stated that the prince “used” the pain of his family to spread populist messages.

Connection with Jordanian tribes

Hamzah’s popularity stems from his relationship with the Jordanian tribe, which is the cornerstone of Hashemite rule.

Atef Majali, a tribal leader in Karak, said that he and other chiefs had met with the prince more than a dozen times over the years, but denied that the king was criticized in these incidents.

The indictment stated that Hamza and the two defendants were dealing with social media messages that the prince was about to release, with the purpose of “inciting certain groups in society to oppose the ruling system and state institutions.”

Hamza denied the allegations of sedition, saying he was punished for accusing him of corruption and mismanagement.

April 3, the day he was put under house arrest, Dozens of tribes and public figures arrested, Including his chief assistant. Only Avadala and Bin Zaid are still detained.

prince No legal issues, The king said that the matter was being dealt with by his family, and his half-brother was still under his care.

When asked whether Hamza could leave his Amman palace or communicate with others, the royal family declined to comment. Atef Majali said that Hamzah employees are not allowed to return to work.

Khasuna, who represents the king’s distant cousin, Ben Zaid, said his client was “shocked” and planned to plead not guilty. In addition to inciting and inciting rebellion, Bin Zaid was also charged with possession of drugs and allegedly found two pieces of marijuana in his home.

The lawyer said he plans to have Hamza appear in court-which may magnify the sensational nature of the trial. It is not clear whether the royal family, eager to quell the crisis, will allow the prince to express his views on such a public stage.

Khasawneh said his client planned to fight the charges and ignored questions about possible plea agreements. During the trial in the security court, the defendant stood in a cage in the courtroom. Mohamed Afif, the former president of the National Security Court, who represented Avadala, said that Avadala and Bin Zaid are also expected to be kept in cages, wearing the blue uniforms of detainees.

The defendant was detained in an intelligence agency in the capital Amman and faced up to 20 years in prison.

Foreign intervention

In the days before the trial, a broader narrative surfaced, although it was only mentioned in the indictment. In this version, the accused co-conspirators seek foreign help to take advantage of the pressure of the king to accept an agreement under pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia. The now-defunct Trump administration’s Middle East plan Sometimes referred to as the “Deal of the Century”.

Jordan expressed concern that the plan would weaken the monarch’s historical role as the guardian of the controversial main Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, as well as the pillar of Hashem’s claim of legitimacy.

The allegations of external propaganda centered on Avadala, who has Jordanian, American and Saudi citizenship, and served as the king’s official envoy to Riyadh. He is closely related to Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In Jordan, it is widely accused that Avadala’s economic policies are mainly beneficial to the rich and have been plagued by suspicions of corruption. In Riyadh, he was clearly involved in efforts to attract foreign investment.

The indictment stated that Hamza and Bin Zaid invited Avadala to join them because of his diplomatic relations. It is said that Hamza once asked Avadala: “If something happens to me in Jordan, will the Saudi officials help me?”

Saudi Arabia, Jordan’s main financial supporter, sent its foreign minister to the country immediately after the crisis broke out to publicly reiterate its support for the king.

Harm to Jordan

Mohamed Momani, a member of the Jordanian Senate and former Minister of Information, insisted that there is a connection between the so-called incitement conspiracy and regional politics.

“When you see Jordan being pressured by its main allies because of the deal of the century, you might think it is an opportunity, or an opportunity to seek support from the outside world,” Momani said, he said. Said that he listened to the briefing of the investigation.

Momani claimed that Bin Zaid had contacted foreign embassies and “attempted to ask their response” if the accused accomplices implemented their plan. He did not identify the embassy.

Jordanian officials said that the conspiracy was discovered in time, but it poses a threat to stability.

Critics say that the threats seem to be exaggerated and point out that any conspiracy requires the support of security forces.

“I couldn’t find any evidence that led to this trial,” said political analyst Amer Sabaileh. He and Momani are among the 92 members of the political reform committee set up by the king in response to the crisis.

Sabaileh said the legendary incident may have caused lasting damage.

He said: “It opened Hashim’s door for ordinary people. I think it’s not good no matter how it happened.” “The family had better unite and not show this feeling of competition or revenge.”

Prince Hamza has no legal issues, and the king said the matter is being handled by his family [Muhammad Hamed/Reuters]

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