Defense seeks prince’s testimony on alleged Jordan plot
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Defense attorneys in the trial surrounding an alleged plot to destabilize Jordan’s monarchy on Wednesday asked to call Prince Hamzah and other royals to testify in a state security court.
Two former Jordanian officials are accused of conspiring with Hamzah, a half-brother of King Abdullah II, and soliciting foreign help in the alleged plot. They have been charged with sedition and incitement.
Lawyers representing Bassem Awadallah, a former head of the royal court, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, submitted a list of witnesses that includes Hamzah as well as two other half-brothers to the king, Prince Ali and Prince Hashem.
They also want to call Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh and Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi to the stand.
The court, which typically deals with drug offenders or suspected militants, is unlikely to require senior members of the royal family to testify about the rare public rift within their ranks. The king says the dispute has been resolved within the family.
The palace drama burst into the open in April when Hamzah was placed under house arrest and several former officials and senior members of powerful tribes were detained. All were later released except for Bin Zaid and Awadallah.
In statements released in April, Hamzah, a popular former crown prince, denied being part of any foreign plot and said he was being targeted for speaking out against corruption. His current status is unknown. The king says he is living under royal protection in his own palace.
The trial is being held under tight security, and Wednesday’s session was closed to the media.
Jordan is a close Western ally that has long been seen as a bastion of stability in a turbulent region.