They are accused of inciting turmoil against the monarch while seeking foreign help with a senior member of the royal family-the king’s half-brother Prince Hamza.
The court drama broke out in early April, when Hamza was under house arrest. Since then, it has broken Jordan’s taboos and sent out uneasiness through foreign capitals. Western powers have united behind Abdullah, who is an indispensable ally in unstable regions.
The case exposed Jordan’s historically cautious rivalry between the Hashemite dynasty and sparked 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 suspected militants.
“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 said the trial began on Monday.
Hamzah, 41, is the central figure, although he has not faced charges. In conflicting narratives, he is either a supporter of ordinary Jordanians suffering from economic mismanagement and corruption, or a disgruntled royal family member who never forgave Abdullah for being the king’s eldest son in 2004 Take away the crown prince title.
The indictment leaked to the official media stated that Hamza was “determined to realize his personal ambitions to become king”. It said that the prince and the defendant-royal Sharif Hassan bin Zaid and former royal adviser Bassem Avadala-conspired to arouse dissatisfaction.
The security agency 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.
Hamzah’s popularity stems from his relationship with the Jordanian tribe, which is the cornerstone of Hashemite rule. Atef Majali, the tribal chief of 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 to be released by the prince, with the purpose of “inciting certain groups in society to oppose the ruling system and state institutions.”
Hamza denied the claims of sedition, saying he was punished for accusing him of corruption and mismanagement.
On April 3, the day he was placed under house arrest, more than a dozen tribes and public figures, including his chief assistant, were arrested. Only Avadala and Bin Zaid are still detained.
The prince had no legal problems. 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 Hamzah 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 stated that his client plans to fight the charges and ignores 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 Amman and faced up to 20 years in prison.
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 weakness that the king felt when he was under pressure from the United States and the United States. Saudi Arabia Accept one that no longer exists trump card Managing the Middle East project is often referred to as the transaction of the century. Jordan expressed concern that the plan would weaken the monarch’s historical role as guardians of major Muslim and Christian sites. Jerusalem And the pillars of Hashem’s claim of legitimacy.
The allegations of external propaganda are concentrated on Avadala, who has Jordanian, American and Saudi citizenship, served as the king’s official envoy to Saudi Arabia, and has close ties with the powerful crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Mohamed Bin Salman.
In Jordan, Avadala has been widely criticized for being seen as an economic policy that primarily benefits the wealthy, and has been plagued by suspicions of corruption. In Riyadh, he was clearly involved in efforts to attract foreign investment.
The indictment stated that Hamzah and bin Zaid invited Awadallah to join them because of his foreign 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.
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 his main allies because of the deal of the century, you might think that this is an opportunity, or an opportunity to seek support from the outside world,” Momani said, he said. Said that he heard a briefing about the investigation.
Momani claimed that Bin Zayed had contacted foreign embassies and “attempted to inquire about their reactions” if the alleged co-conspirators put their plans into practice. He did not identify the embassy.
Jordanian officials said that the alleged 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 kind of 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 don’t think this is good, no matter how it happened.” “The family had better unite and not show this feeling of competition or revenge. ”