(Update 1: Adds Safadi’s remarks, updates headline, lede)
Amman, Apr 4 (efe-epa).- The Jordanian authorities on Sunday accused Hamzah bin Husein, the former crown prince and King Abdullah’s half-brother, of undermining the kingdom’s stability after he was reportedly placed under house arrest amid a series of high profile detentions.
“The security services, through comprehensive investigations (…) followed for a long time the activities and movements of Prince Hamzah bin al Hussein, Sharif Hasan bin Zaid and Basem Awadallah and others aimed at the security and stability of the homeland,” vice prime minister Ayman Safadi said at a press conference.
They have engaged in “contact with external parties about the most appropriate time to start acting to destabilize the security of our glorious Jordan,” he added.
King Abdullah “decided to speak directly with Prince Hamzah, so that the issue would be discussed within the family,” he added.
He said that between 16 and 18 people have been arrested, including Sharif Hasan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family who is unknown even for local media, and Bassem Awadallah, a former advisor to the king.
Safadi said the former crown prince had not been detained, as Hamzah had claimed in a video sent to the BBC through his attorney.
Hamzah said that the chief of the general staff of the Jordanian armed forces official had told him he could not “go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them” after he allegedly attended a meeting where the Jordanian leadership came in for criticism.
Safadi considered the video to be “another attempt to distort the facts and arouse national and foreign sympathies”.
Prince Hamzah is the eldest son of King Husein and Queen Noor whom the latter married in 1978 having been divorced twice and widowed once.