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Jordan arrests MP sacked over threatening to kill king

Osama al-Ajarmeh has been recently ousted from parliament over speeches deemed offensive to King Abdullah II
The sacking of Ajarmeh, an outspoken tribal figure, has triggered concerns about the potential for rising tensions between the monarchy and the MP's tribal allies (Facebook)

Jordan's interior ministry has announced the arrest on Wednesday of MP Osama al-Ajarmeh, following a parliamentary decision to oust him earlier this month. 

According to the official Jordanian news agency, Interior Minister Mazen al-Faraya confirmed the lawmaker's arrest based on a memorandum issued by the State Security Court Prosecutor, but did not provide details on the charges brought against him.

Jordan: MP who threatened to kill king dismissed as tribal rift grows
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The Jordanian House of Representatives voted on 6 June in favour of sacking Ajarmeh over what the MPs considered "offensive" statements against the king and society.

The decision came days after parliament temporarily suspended his membership because of his “abuse of the council, its members and its internal system”, according to a parliament statement following his speech regarding the power outage that plunged the kingdom into darkness last month.

On 21 May, electricity was completely cut off throughout Jordan, and power distribution companies told the Turkish Anadolu news agency that the reason was a malfunction in the transmission network of the state electricity company.

At the time, Ajarmeh accused the government of "deliberate" nationwide power outages to prevent a pro-Palestine march on the capital Amman by tribes demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador following deadly air strikes on Gaza. 

Tribal tensions

The sacking of Ajarmeh, an outspoken tribal figure, has triggered concerns about the potential for rising tensions between the monarchy and the MP's tribal allies.

In the wake of his suspension, violent confrontations between police and Ajarmeh's supporters left four police officers wounded in the suburb of Naour, a stronghold of the Ajarmeh tribe in southwest Amman. The parliament voted the following day to expel the MP, accusing him of causing the riots.

While many have objected to the decision to suspend him over his parliamentary speech, other videos of Ajarmeh that later surfaced online garnered support for his ousting. 

In one video clip that went viral, he described the king as "a pig" and said he would be willing to "shoot him between the eyes" with a pistol. In what looked like a cinematic display, with Bedouin Saudi music in the background, Ajarmeh addressed a crowd of masked male supporters, carrying a sword given to him by men from the Bani Hassan tribe, and with a gun in a shoulder holster. 

In other videos he has threatened to launch "a radical Jordanian right-wing", including tribes and former army commanders, to “purge Amman of the liberal elite”. 

The comments were denounced by fellow MPs, 109 of whom signed a memorandum calling for his permanent suspension. Parliament Speaker Abdulmunim Oddat denounced Ajarmeh’s “perverted utterances” and “devious, slanderous” allegations about the king.

“I hereby declare the parliament’s support to the king against all attempts targeting his prestige, and reject any tampering with the kingdom’s social fabric, its tribal and family harmony, and social peace, which form the basis for Jordan’s security and stability,” Oddat said in a statement signed by other MPs on 7 June.