Two Jordanian ex-officials sentenced to 15 years in prison over alleged coup plot

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A Jordanian tribunal sentenced a erstwhile apical assistance to King Abdullah II and a insignificant subordinate of the royal household connected Monday to service 15 years successful situation connected charges of plotting against the monarchy with overseas assistance.

The tribunal recovered Bassem Awadallah, who erstwhile served arsenic caput of the royal tribunal and concern curate successful Jordan, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a royal household member, blameworthy of sowing sedition and plotting against the monarchy.

Both defendants had pleaded not guilty.

The verdict was announced connected Monday by Lt. Col. Muwafaq al-Masaeed, a subject judge, pursuing a closed-door proceedings of conscionable six hearings successful what is wide known successful Jordan arsenic the “sedition case”.

According to the court, the brace conspired with Prince Hamzah bin al-Hussein, the king’s half-brother and erstwhile crown prince, to beforehand him arsenic an alternate to the US’s beardown state King Abdullah II.

Prince Hamzah, 41, is simply a fashionable fig successful Jordan. Hamzah maintained adjacent relations with influential families and tribal figures since King Abdullah removed his rubric arsenic crown prince successful 2009, favouring his lad Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, who presently holds the title.

The proceedings followed the apprehension of 18 radical successful April for “attempts to jeopardise the information and stability” of the country. Hours later, Prince Hamzah released a video, successful Arabic and English, saying helium has been placed nether location apprehension arsenic portion of a crackdown connected critics. He denied immoderate wrongdoings and accused the royal tribunal of corruption, incompetence and harassment.

However, Prince Hamzah has ne'er been enactment connected proceedings aft the royal tribunal said it had resolved the quality with him erstwhile helium pledged allegiance to King Abdullah.

Mr Awadallah US’s lawyer said his client, who has US citizenship, is alleged to person been tortured successful the Jordanian prison. Michael Sullivan, a erstwhile national authoritative hired by Mr Awadallah’s US-based family, told The Associated Press that Mr Awadallah has been beaten, subjected to electrical daze and was threatened with aboriginal mistreatment “if helium didn’t confess,” Sullivan said.

The tribunal denied requests made by Mr Awadallah’s Jordanian defence lawyers to telephone precocious illustration witnesses, including Prince Hamzah, the existent Jordanian premier curate Bishr al-Khasawneh, 2 princes, a curate and different members of the royal family.

The tribunal denied that the proceedings was “unfair”, saying Mr Awadallah was fixed owed process according to proceedings procedures successful the Jordanian law. The tribunal besides denied the suspect was mistreated oregon pressured for confession.

The proceedings uncovered heavy rifts wrong the Jordanian royal household that threatened the stableness of a tiny but strategically important state to the west. Hamzah’s mother, American-born Queen Noor, took to Twitter to support her son, saying she was “praying that information and justness volition prevail for each the guiltless victims of this wicked slander”.

Mr Awadallah was erstwhile an influential fig successful Jordanian authorities and 1 of Abdullah’s astir trusted aides. He was besides the driving unit down wide economical betterment successful the mediocre kingdom earlier moving to Saudi Arabia, wherever helium advised crown prince Mohamed bin Salman connected economical betterment and attracting overseas investment.

“The brace person present 30 days to entreaty the verdict,” Bassam al-Talhony, Jordan’s erstwhile justness minister, told Aljazeera.

Mr Awadallah’s US defence squad has maintained a debased illustration passim the trial, but they are readying to play a much disposable relation successful the entreaty signifier to rise consciousness astir his lawsuit successful the US and internationally, according to Sullivan.

The Awadallah household has besides urged the Biden medication to telephone for his release.

King Abdullah is present successful the US connected a three-week visit, which includes the archetypal gathering by immoderate Arab person with President Biden connected 17 July.

Biden was among the archetypal satellite leaders to dependable their beardown enactment for the monarchy aft the slew of arrests successful April.

Jordan receives $1.5 cardinal each twelvemonth from the US arsenic overseas assistance and plays a important relation successful the bid process betwixt the Palestinians and Israel.

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