Prince Hamzah’s video statement came after local media reported that two former senior executives and other suspects had been arrested for “security reasons,” with authorities denying Hamzah’s arrest or house arrest.
In a video leaked to the BBC, Hamzah – a former chief of staff who was stripped of his title in 2004 – said he was visited on Saturday morning by the country’s military chief and told he was not allowed to go out, contact people or meet them.
He said his security information had been removed, and his phone and Internet connection had been cut off. He said he had been talking about satellite Internet and expected the service to be curtailed as well. The BBC said it had received a statement from Hamzah’s lawyer.
Hamzah said he had been informed that he was being punished for participating in meetings where the king was being criticized, although he said he was not accused of joining the criticism.
He then criticized the “ruling system” without naming the king, saying it had decided “that its interests, and its finances, that its corruption is more important than the lives and dignity of the 10 million people living here.”
“I am not part of any conspiracy or any boring organization or international support group, as is always the case here with anyone speaking out,” he said. “There are members of this family who still love this country, care about it (its people) and will put them above everything else.”
“Obviously that is a case that deserves to be separated, threatened but now it has been dismissed,” he added.
It is not uncommon for a high-ranking member of the ruling family to criticize the government in this way, and any sign of instability in Jordan is likely to raise concerns among Western allies.
Hamzah is a prominent figure in Jordan. He is seen as a man of faith and modesty, communicating with the common people and being like his beloved father, the late King Hussein. He has previously criticized the government, accusing officials of “mismanagement of administrators” after they passed the 2018 Income Tax Act.
Earlier, the country’s general denied that Hamzah had been arrested or detained. Hamzah has been asked to “stop some of the things that are being used to ensure security and stability in Jordan,” General Yousef Huneiti was quoted as saying by Petra.
He said the investigation was ongoing and the results would be made public “in a clear and concise manner.”
“No one is above the law, and Jordan’s security and strength are above all else,” he added.
Earlier Petra had reported the arrest of Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, a former royal court official. Awadallah has also previously served as Minister of Planning and Minister of Finance and has an interest in private businesses throughout the Gulf region.
The organization did not provide further details or name the other prisoners.
Abdullah has ruled the Jordan since the death of his father King Hussein in 1999, who ruled the country for almost 50 years. Abdullah has developed close ties with the U.S. and other Western leaders over the years, with Jordan being a key ally in the war against the Islamic State. The country crosses Israel, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
“We are closely monitoring the reports and liaising with Jordanian officials,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price. “Lord Abdullah is a great American ally, and we fully support him.”
Saudi Arabia’s official news agency said the state “is fully committed to fully supporting Jordan and its king and crown prince in all decisions and procedures to maintain security and stability and to reduce any attempts to affect them.”
The Jordan economy is plagued by a coronavirus epidemic. The country, with a population of about ten million, also manages more than 600,000 Syrian refugees.
Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994. Countries maintain close security ties, but relations have been strained in recent years, largely because of differences in Israel-Palestinian conflict. Jordan is home to more than two million Palestinian refugees, many of whom have Jordanian citizenship. The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
The settlement in Jordan and the monarchy has long been a matter of concern, especially during the Trump administration, which provided unprecedented support to Israel and sought to divide Palestinians, including Palestinian refugee refugees.
In early 2018, when then President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to countries that do not support U.S. policies, officials increased aid to Jordan by $ 1 billion over five years.
Abdullah stripped his brother Hamzah of his kingship as chieftain in 2004, saying he had decided to “release” him from the restrictions of the post to allow him to take on other responsibilities. The move came at the time as part of Abdullah’s consolidation of five years in a row.
The crown prince is currently Abdullah’s eldest son, Hussein, 26.