April 11, 2021

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Jordan Prince Hamzah vows to disobey army’s ‘keep silent’ order

2 min read

Hamzah, 41, says he was ordered to stay in his Amman palace but would defy the limits on his freedom of movement.

Jordan’s estranged Prince Hamza says he will disobey orders by the army to not communicate with the outside world after he was put under house arrest.

The half-brother of King Abdullah II and former heir to the throne said in a voice recording sent to contacts on Monday and released by the country’s opposition that he would not “escalate” moves after being barred from any activity and told to keep quiet.

“I don’t want to make moves and escalate now, but of course I’m not going to obey when they say you can’t go out, you can’t tweet, you can’t communicate with people, you’re only allowed to see your family,” he said in an audio recording posted on Twitter late on Sunday.

Jordan’s deputy prime minister said on Sunday that Prince Hamzah, 41, had been liaising with foreign parties in a “malicious plot” to destabilise the country.

On Saturday, the military said it had issued a warning to the prince over actions targeting “security and stability” in the kingdom. Prince Hamzah later said he was under house arrest. Several high-profile figures were detained.

Hamzah – a former crown prince stripped of that title by Abdullah in 2004 – has emerged as a vocal critic of the monarchy, accusing it of corruption, nepotism and authoritarian rule.

In a video he sent to the BBC Saturday, he denied being involved in a plot and said he had been ordered under house arrest by Jordan’s most senior military figure, General Youssef Huneiti.

In the latest recording, Hamzah said: “When the head of the joint chiefs of staff comes and tells you this … I think it’s a bit unacceptable”.

It is unclear why the kingdom decided to take action against Prince Hamzah now, but he has reportedly put himself at risk by making frequent visits to tribal gatherings where some people criticised the king.

Officials said efforts were under way to resolve the crisis within the royal family, in the first such open rift in many years, but the prince was not cooperative.

The palace turmoil has laid bare divisions in Jordan, usually considered a bulwark of stability in the Middle East.

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