Jordan's Prince Hamzah Disobeys Orders to Stay Silent, Vows to 'Escalate' Moves

Under house arrest, half-brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II and former heir to the throne denies he's part of an alleged coup

Prince Hamzah and his wife Princess Basma Otoum at their wedding in Amman in 2012.
Prince Hamzah and his wife Princess Basma Otoum at their wedding in Amman in 2012.Credit: Yousef Allan / AFP

Jordan's estranged Prince Hamzah said in a voice recording released on Monday that he would disobey orders by the army to not communicate with outside world after he was put under house arrest.

The half-brother of King Abdullah II and former heir to the throne said in voice recording sent to contacts released by the country's opposition that he would "escalate" moves after being barred from any activity and told to keep quiet.

About 20 people, including associates of King Abdullah, were arrested by Jordanian authorities Saturday on suspicion of plotting to unseat the monarch.

Among those detained was the former Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, half-brother of the king, in a plot termed by the authorities "a threat to the country's stability." The former crown prince later said in a video recording that he is under house arrest, and claimed the regime was attempting to silence him from criticizing corruption.

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

Jordanian state media denied that Prince Hamza was detained or put under restrictions. Two people familiar with the situation told Reuters security forces had arrived at his house and begun an investigation.

Jordanian Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maj. Gen. Yousef Huneiti, said in a statement Saturday night that "There is no truth to the report that Prince Hamza was detained, but he has been asked to stop all activities that can be exploited to harm national security."

King Abdallah II has received public support from leaders across the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon, as well as the U.S. State Department.

Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz said “This is a Jordanian internal matter. Jordan is a country of peace, a neighbor and is of great strategic importance."

He added that Israel "must do everything possible to preserve this alliance, which has existed for more than 30 years now. A strong and prosperous Jordan is in our security, diplomatic and economic interests. We need to do everything possible to help Jordan in the fields of economy and health."

In stark contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been notoriously quiet. Relations between Israel and Jordan have been hostile in recent weeks amid a very public diplomatic spat between Netanyahu and King Abdullah.

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