In Jordan sedition trial, US defendant alleges torture

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AMMAN, Jordan: A US citizen and erstwhile apical adjutant to Jordan’s King Abdullah II alleged helium was tortured successful Jordanian detention and fears for his life, his US-based lawyer said connected Sunday (Jul 11), connected the eve of a verdict successful the high-profile sedition proceedings linked to a uncommon nationalist rift successful the kingdom’s ruling family.

Along with the mistreatment allegations, the closed-door proceedings earlier Jordan’s authorities information tribunal “has been wholly unfair”, Michael Sullivan, a erstwhile national authoritative hired by suspect Bassem Awadallah’s US-based family, told The Associated Press.

The allegations of mistreatment, denied by Jordanian officials Sunday, were raised conscionable days earlier Jordan’s king is to go the archetypal Arab person to conscionable with President Joe Biden astatine the White House connected July 19. Jordan is simply a cardinal Western state successful an unstable Middle East.

Awadallah and co-defendant Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a distant relative of the king, person pleaded not blameworthy to sedition and incitement charges, which transportation lengthy situation terms.

The defendants were accused of conspiring with a elder royal - Prince Hamzah, a half-brother of the king - to foment unrest against the monarch portion soliciting overseas help. The indictment portrayed Hamzah arsenic a disgruntled royal who ne'er forgave Abdullah for taking distant his rubric of crown prince successful 2004. 

Hamzah, who was placed nether location apprehension successful April and has been seen successful nationalist conscionable erstwhile since then, denied helium incited against the king, saying helium was being punished for calling retired high-level corruption.

Despite the superior quality of the charges against Awadallah and bin Zaid, the proceedings ended aft conscionable six sessions. The tribunal denied requests by Jordanian defence lawyers to telephone witnesses and prosecutors lone shared purported transcripts, but not audio, from surveillance of the alleged plotters.

The prosecutor’s bureau astatine the authorities information tribunal denied the proceedings was unfair. Awadallah was “guaranteed owed process” successful enactment with Jordanian law, the authoritative said successful a connection to the AP. “He has not been mistreated successful immoderate way, and his allegations of torture of immoderate benignant are false.”

The US State Department said that US consular officials visited Awadallah 5 times and that “we besides instrumentality earnestly immoderate allegations of maltreatment and deficiency of minimum just proceedings guarantees.”

Sullivan, a erstwhile US lawyer for Massachusetts and erstwhile acting manager of the national Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said that based connected the mode the proceedings was conducted, a blameworthy verdict appeared to beryllium a foregone conclusion. He said immoderate condemnation would beryllium appealed.

The US ineligible team, which has remained successful the inheritance until now, volition play a much unfastened relation successful the appeals stage, said Sullivan. He said the purpose is to rise consciousness astir Awadallah’s lawsuit successful the United States and internationally. This includes “the superior concerns astir his information and information successful the abbreviated word and the implicit unfairness successful presumption of the process, arsenic good arsenic evidently the torture and usurpation of a fig of planetary conventions, treaties and laws,” Sullivan said.

The prosecutor’s bureau said Awadallah didn’t rise torture allegations during the tribunal hearings, his 17 meetings with his Jordanian lawyer oregon the archetypal 4 meetings with US consular officials successful Jordan. “He lone made these claims astatine his astir caller gathering with the consul, arsenic the ruling’s pronouncement (verdict) neared,” the connection said.

Sullivan said Awadallah told his visitant that helium had been been beaten, subjected to electrical daze and was threatened with aboriginal mistreatment “if helium didn’t confess.”

The prosecutor’s bureau said Awadallah gave a voluntary connection astir the case, denying it had been extracted by force.

Awadallah’s household said precocious past week that helium fears for his life. “Bassem is justifiably fearful of being killed successful situation aft the sentencing, particularly due to the fact that helium held respective precocious ranking and delicate positions successful the Jordanian government,” the household said.

Awadallah, who besides holds Jordanian and Saudi citizenship, served arsenic caput of the royal tribunal and authorities curate successful Jordan. He has extended concern interests successful the Gulf and has advised Saudi Arabia’s almighty crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, connected attracting overseas investment.

The Awadallah household urged the Biden medication to telephone for Awadallah’s release.

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