Jordan’s former crown prince Hamza bin Hussein says he is under house arrest and had been told to stay at home and not to contact anyone.
- He released a video after news that the country’s military had told him to halt actions used to target the country’s “stability and security”
- Prince Hamza said he was told he being punished for taking in part in meetings in which the king was criticised
- He said he was not accused of being a direct critic
Prince Hamza released a video after reports that the country’s military had told him to halt actions used to target the country’s “stability and security”.
Army chief Yusef Huneity earlier denied reports that Prince Hamza had been arrested.
Prince Hamza said in the video, passed by his lawyer to the BBC, that he was not part of any foreign conspiracy and denounced the ruling system as corrupt.
“Its a very sad and unfortunate turn,” he added.
Prince Hamza, the half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah, says he has been placed under house arrest by Jordanian authorities and accused the country’s leadership of corruption and incompetence.
“I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them,” he says in the video.
He said his security detail was removed, and his phone and Internet service had been cut. He said he was speaking over satellite Internet, but expected that service to be cut as well.
In the statement, Prince Hamzah said he was told he was being punished for taking in part in meetings in which the king had been criticised, though he himself was not accused of being a direct critic.
“I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, for the corruption and for the incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse by the year,” he said he told the army chief.
“I am not responsible for the lack of faith that people have in their institutions. They are responsible.”
The country’s top general had earlier denied that Hamzah — a former crown prince who was stripped of the title in 2004 — was arrested or under house arrest, even as authorities announced the arrests of former senior officials close to the ruling monarchy.
Prince Hamzah was asked to “stop some movements and activities that are being used to target Jordan’s security and stability,” according to General Yousef Huneiti, the army chief of staff.
General Huneiti said an investigation was ongoing and its results would be made public “in a transparent and clear form.”
“No one is above the law and Jordan’s security and stability are above all,” he told the official Petra news agency.
Petra had earlier reported that two senior officials who formerly worked for the palace, along with other suspects, had been arrested for “security reasons,” without providing further details.
The Petra report said Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, a former head of the royal court, were detained.
Mr Awadallah, also previously served as planning minister and finance minister and has private business interests throughout the Gulf region.
The agency did not provide further details or name the others who were arrested.
“We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support.”
Saudi Arabia’s official news agency said the kingdom “confirmed its full support to Jordan and its King and Crown Prince in all decisions and procedures to maintain security and stability and defuse any attempt to affect them.”
King Abdullah has ruled Jordan since the 1999 death of his father, King Hussein, who ruled the country for close to a half-century.
He has cultivated close relations with US and other Western leaders over the years, and Jordan was a key ally in the war against the Islamic State group.
The country borders Israel, the occupied West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Jordan’s economy has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The country, with a population of around 10 million, also hosts more than 600,000 Syrian refugees.
Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994. The countries maintain close security ties, but relations have otherwise been tense in recent years, largely due to differences linked to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Jordan is home to more than 2 million Palestinian refugees, most of whom have Jordanian citizenship.
King Abdullah and Prince Hamzah have not displayed any open rivalry over the years.