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Jordan’s former crown prince says he has been placed in isolation

Jordan’s former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the half-brother of the country’s ruler King Abdullah II, claims he has been placed in isolation and his communication cut off, in a video statement obtained by the BBC.

Prince Hamzah said he had been told by the Jordanian military that he shouldn’t leave his home, suggesting he has been put under house arrest.

Hamzah is the oldest son of Jordan’s late King Hussein and his American-born wife Queen Noor.

“I had a visit from the Chief of the General staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces this morning, in which he informed me that I was not allowed to go out to communicate with people or to meet with them, because that in the meetings that I had been present in or on social media relating the visits that I’ve made, there’s been criticism of the government or the King,” he said in the video, which the BBC says was sent to it by the prince’s lawyer.

The clip emerged as Jordan’s state news agency Petra reported that another member of the royal family, Hassan bin Zaid and the former head of the royal court, Basem Awadallah, were arrested on Saturday due to “security reasons.”

Petra said an investigation was underway but offered no additional details.

Zaid is a distant cousin of King Abdullah II. His brother was Ali bin Zaid, an intelligence officer killed along with seven CIA operatives in 2010 in a suicide bombing in Khost, Afghanistan.

In the video, Hamzah said he was not “part of any conspiracy or nefarious organization or foreign-backed group as is always the claim here for anyone who speaks out.”

He also blamed the country’s leaders of being 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.”

“This is my last form of communication, satellite internet, that I have. And I’ve been informed by the company that they’re instructed to cut it, so it may be the last time I’m able to communicate,” he said.

Hamzah was initially considered the favorite to succeed his father. However, before King Hussein died of cancer in 1999 he named Abdullah his successor, as Hamzah was seen as too inexperienced and young to become a monarch.

Abdullah appointed Hamzah crown prince in 1999 before revoking the title in 2004.

Hamzah is highly popular in Jordan due to his resemblance to his father.

“Praying that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander,” Queen Noor, Hamzah’s mother, wrote on Twitter Sunday. “God bless and keep them safe.”

US, Saudi Arabia offer support to King Abdullah

Earlier on Saturday, Jordan’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maj. Gen. Yousef Huneiti, denied media reports saying Prince Hamzah was arrested, according to Petra.

Huneiti said that Prince Hamzah was asked to “cease any movement and activities that could be used to target the security and stability of Jordan” and that “a comprehensive joint investigations carried out by the security services led to the arrests of Sharif Hassan Bin Zaid and Bassan Awadallah and others,” Petra reported.

Huneiti said that investigations are continuing, and their results will be disclosed with full transparency and clarity. He stressed that all the measures taken were carried out within the framework of the law and after extensive investigations that were required, Petra reported.

Huneiti affirmed that “no one is above the law and that Jordan’s security and stability take precedence over any consideration.”

A growing list of Arab countries have voiced their support for King Abdullah.

Saudi Arabia said it supports King Abdullah’s decision to maintain the security of his country, according to a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency Saturday.

“The Kingdom affirms its complete stand by the sisterly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its full support with all its capabilities for all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein and His Highness Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, Crown Prince, to maintain security and stability,” according to the statement citing the Royal Court.

At least seven other countries including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Kuwait have released statements expressing their support for King Abdullah.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Gulf, has also expressed its support, as did Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The US State Department said on Saturday that King Abdullah is a “key partner” of the US.

“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,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price in an email to CNN.

King Abdullah has ruled the country since his father’s death in 1999.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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