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Jordan's Prince Hamzah in new recording: 'I will not obey'

Middle East Eye sent audio clip of detained ex-crown prince saying he was threatened by the army chief
Jordan's Prince Hamzah bin Hussein is under house arrest in Amman (AFP)
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Amman

A new audio recording of Jordan's Prince Hamzah bin Hussein has been given to Middle East Eye, in which the detained royal says he will not obey the restrictive orders handed to him by the military.

On Saturday, the head of Jordan's military, Major General Yousef Huneiti, arrived at Prince Hamzah's Amman palace and informed him he was under house arrest over threats to the kingdom's security.

Hamzah, in a video clip leaked that night, said that Huneiti told him his communications would be cut and his movement severely limited.

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Meanwhile, two senior ex-officials and several others were arrested, as rumours of an alleged coup attempt against King Abdullah II, Hamzah's half-brother, swirled.

"It is a difficult situation. All of my guards have been withdrawn. The chairman of the Jordanian armed forces [Huneiti] came to my house to threaten me. I have recorded what he said, it was distributed to my family and friends outside Jordan to preserve myself," Hamzah is heard saying in the recording passed to MEE.

"I am waiting to see what they will do. I will not take any immediate action or move, but certainly I will not obey their orders," he added.

"The army's orders include banning Twitter and contact with people. Contact with family is allowed only… This is not accepted anyhow."

'It could be a failed coup attempt'

Jordan's Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday that Hamzah and others were planning to "undermine the security" of Jordan, adding that a total of 14-16 people had been arrested on security charges, in addition to two previously reported arrests.

Reuters quoted Safadi as saying that Hamzah had liaised with foreign powers and been under investigation for some time.

"The investigations had monitored interferences and communications with foreign parties over the right timing to destabilise Jordan," Safadi said.

'The investigations had monitored interferences and communications with foreign parties over the right timing to destabilise Jordan'

- Jordan's Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi

These included a foreign intelligence agency contacting Hamzah's wife to organise a plane for the couple to leave Jordan, he said.

A large number of security forces have been deployed on Amman's main streets and around its most sensitive sites.

Social media rumours and a lack of non-partisan news outlets in the country have meant many Jordanians are still in the dark about the significance of the arrests.

A senior Middle East intelligence official briefed on the events told the Washington Post that investigations were ongoing into an attempt to unseat the king. The Post reported that tribal leaders and members of the Jordanian security establishment are said to have been involved in the plot.

"At least 20 more people involved with Prince Hamzah have been arrested at the same time," a Jordanian source told MEE.

"It could be a failed coup attempt, but nobody knows the exact details."