Detainees Bassem Awadallah and Hassan bin Zaid will face Jordanian justice next week for allegedly inciting against the regime

Jordan awaits trial on "sedition" charge

photo_camera AP/NADER DAOUD - In this 25 May 2008 file photo, Dr. Bassem Awadallah, then Director of the Office of King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The Jordanian judiciary will hold the trial of former royal court chief Bassem Awadallah and royal family member Sharif Abdul Rahman Hassan bin Zaid, arrested for alleged "sedition" offences and accused of "inciting against the regime".

The trial will take place next week and the defendants are expected to be notified of the indictment so that it can be forwarded to the State Security Court, the competent body responsible for initiating such legal proceedings.

According to what the Jordan News Agency reported, "the general prosecutor of the State Security Court, Brigadier General, Military Judge Hazem Abdel Salam al-Majali, approved the indictment issued by the State Security Court鈥檚 prosecutor in the case related to the two defendants". They are "charged with the felony of inciting opposition to the political regime in the Kingdom jointly".

On April 28, the State Security Public Prosecutor's Office ordered the release of 16 detainees charged with the same offences as Hazem and Al-Majali. However, it was reported from Petra that "regarding the defendants in the name of Awad Allah and Sharif Abdul Rahman Hassan bin Zaid, they were not released due to their different roles and differences, the facts attributed to them, and the degree of incitement that differs from the rest of the defendants who were released."
 

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Similarly, both Awadallah and bin Zaid were referred on 2 June to the State Security Court, a military body known for dealing with allegedly terrorism-related cases.

In this context, in early April, the former crown prince, Hamzah bin al-Hussein, was arrested and placed under house arrest due to allegations made against him from abroad for inciting the opposition to carry out "a plot" to destabilise the Jordanian regime. However, the Petra agency sought to deny this information, but a 6-minute video recorded by the first-born himself revealed that al-Hussein was being held at his home.

The king's half-brother claimed in the recording that he "was not allowed to go out or communicate with people because of criticisms of the government or king voiced at meetings where he had been present". The prince was at home with his wife and two children. He also regretted that "this country has gone from one that was at the forefront of the region in terms of education and healthcare, in terms of human dignity and freedoms, to one in which even to criticise a small aspect of a policy leads to arrest and abuse by the security services".

Legal proceedings against Hazem were terminated after the former heir swore an oath of allegiance to monarch Abdullah II and the values of the Hashemite dynasty. From abroad, countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United States expressed their support for the monarch. Similarly, Morocco's King Mohammed VI "reiterated his full and natural solidarity with Jordan and full support for all the decisions taken by Jordanian King Abdullah II to consolidate security and stability". 
 

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Alongside this, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared to "support the decisions taken by King Abdullah II to preserve Jordan's security and ensure its stability and unity". In Jordan, the Palestinian population constitutes a significant percentage of the refugee population, which, according to the UN refugee agency, makes up more than 2 billion refugees in the country.  Other Arab countries such as Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen and Qatar took the same position.

After Al-Hussein's arrest, the government newspaper Al-Rai reported that "Jordanians are in no hurry to get the results of the investigation. What is important is that their country avoided a chapter of unrest with the sophistication of the Jordanian leadership and security services, and taught traitors in Jordan a lesson through which they can identify the red line they cannot approach".

This event highlighted the major fracture that Jordan's royal family is currently undergoing. According to King Abdullah, this crisis is "the most painful during his 22 years of rule". The arrests have led to an internal crisis that has affected the country's stability and exposed problems within the royal family itself.

Hamza bin Hussein is the son of former King Hussein and half-brother of the current monarch, Abdullah II. In 2004, King Abdullah II stripped Hamza bin Hussein of the title of crown prince, and the title is now held by his heir son, Prince Hussein bin al-Abdullah.
 


 

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