AMMAN, JORDAN — April 3, 2021 — Arrests of top officials and royal family members are rare in Jordan.
Former Jordanian Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein has been placed under house arrest amid reports that the kingdom’s security forces have foiled a coup against King Abdullah II.
At least 20 Jordanians have been arrested in connection with the alleged coup.
According to The Washington Post, Hamzah was placed under restriction at his Amman place amid an alleged plot to unseat King Abdullah II
“The move followed the discovery of what palace officials described as a complex and far-reaching plot that included at least one other Jordanian royal, as well as tribal leaders and members of the country’s security establishment,” the report said.
The official Jordanian media initially reported that Hamzah has been placed under house arrest.
Former Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein has through his lawyer said he had been placed under house arrest as part of a crackdown on critics. Hamza accuses the country’s leaders of corruption, incompetence and harassment. Hamzah, an outspoken critic, has called for holding those responsible to account. He denied any wrongdoing and said he was not part of any conspiracy.
He said with emphasis that “it has reached a point where no one is able to speak or express opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened.”
Hamzah’s statement comes after approximately 20 high-level figures have been detained for “security” reasons. Of those some-odd 20 Hamzah associates, sources say is Yasser Suleimani al-Majali, Hamzah’s Office Director, arrested by officers belonging to the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate. The director of Hamzah’s palace, Adnan Abu Hammad, was also taken into custody. Jordanian security forces withdrew Hamzah’s security detail.
Rasheed al-Majali, a relative of the detained director of Hamzah’s office, said that several heavily-armed security officers took part in the arrest.
“They drew their weapons in the face of women and children and took Yasser al-Majali to an undisclosed location. Yasser suffers from cardiac issues requiring round-the-clock attention and medication.”
Majali is a prominent Jordanian political family based in the town of Al-Karak. Members of the family emigrated to Jordan from the West Bank city of Hebron. Some members of the family previously served in senior positions in Jordan. Two of them, Hazza’ Majali and Abdelsalam al-Majali, are former prime ministers.
A statement published by Jordan’s official news agency Petra said that “Jordanian citizens Hassan bin Zaid, Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah and others were also arrested for security reasons.”
The statement did not make any reference to the alleged plot to overthrow the Jordanian monarch or to Hamzah. “The arrest was made after close security follow-up and was executed for security reasons,” the agency said.
Bin Zaid is a member of the royal family in Jordan.
Awadallah, a Jordanian citizen born in Jerusalem, previously served as Director of the Office of King Abdullah II and Chief of the Royal Hashemite Court. Awadallah also served as an unofficial Jordanian envoy to Saudi Arabia and is said to maintain close ties with the royal family in Riyadh.
Egypt, the US and the Saudi Royal Court have expressed support for King Abdullah.
The US State Department said on Saturday that King Abdullah is a “key partner” of the United States and “has our full support.”
In an email, State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials. King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support.”
First published by The Jerusalem Post with contribution from Reuters and the BBC.