Crime & Justice

Jordan sentences 2 officials to 15 years in jail over alleged coup plot

Amman, Jul 12 (EFE).- A Jordanian court on Monday sentenced two senior royal court officials to 15 years in prison for taking part in an alleged coup plot involving the king’s half-brother and former crown prince Hamzah, state-run news agency Petra reported.

Former chief of the royal court Bassem Awadallah and member of the royal family Sharif Hassan bin Zaid were charged with incitement against the king, sedition attempt and threatening the security of the country.

Both sentences can be appealed at Jordan’s Court of Cassation.

The trial started last month behind closed doors, with both defendants pleading not guilty to the charges.

Bin Zaid was sentenced to another year in prison for drug abuse, according to Petra.

The case was brought to light in April, when Hamzah revealed he had been placed under house arrest, exposing a rare public split within the Hashemite ruling family.

Eighteen people were arrested in the wake of Hamzah’s claim. Sixteen, mostly guards and aides, were freed later following a royal order, and only Awadallah and bin Ziad were referred to the state security court.

Hamzah was to be investigated as well, but he pledged loyalty to the king in a message published by the royal house.

Hamzah is the eldest son of the late King Hussein and Queen Noor, whom the monarch married in 1978 after two divorces and having become a widow once.

When Hussein died in February 1999 and Abdullah II ascended to the throne, Hamzah was initially named crown prince, but the king revoked that decision in November 2004 and made Hussein bin Abdullah the heir. EFE

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