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Jordan's Prince Hamzah: 'No one is able to speak'

Detained ex-crown prince releases video saying 'I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, the corruption and for the incompetence'
A screenshot of a video of Prince Hamzah the royal sent to the BBC from house arrest (Screenshot)

From effective house arrest, Jordan's Prince Hamzah bin Hussein sent a video clip to the BBC giving his version of a dramatic last few hours in which he has been implicated in an alleged coup attempt.

Hamzah, the former crown prince, was visited by the army chief on Saturday and informed that his movement and communications were to be limited while investigations are ongoing. Meanwhile, several of his associates have been arrested.

However, the prince managed to release a video clip to the BBC before his last communications were cut out.

"I had a visit from the chief of general staff of the Jordanian armed forces this morning in which he informed me that I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them because in the meetings that I had been present in - or on social media relating to visits that I had made - there had been criticism of the government or the king," Hamzah is seen saying.

The royal said he was not accused of making the criticisms in the meetings.

'At least 20 more people involved with Prince Hamzah have been arrested. It could be a failed coup attempt, but nobody knows the exact details'

- Jordanian source

"I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, the corruption and for the incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse... And I am not responsible for the lack of faith people have in their institutions," the prince added.

"It has reached a point where no one is able to speak or express an opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened."

Hamzah accused the "ruling system" of believing that "its personal interests, that its financial interests, that its corruption is more important than the lives and dignity and futures of the 10 million people that live here".

"Unfortunately this country has become stymied in corruption, in nepotism, and in misrule and the result has been the destruction or the loss of hope."

Hamzah is the son of the late King Hussein and his fourth wife, the US-born Queen Noor. He was replaced as crown prince in 2004 in favour of King Abdullah's son Hussein.

Queen Noor reacted on social media on Sunday, expressing hope that "truth and justice will prevail" against "wicked slander".

'Jordan's stability is the priority'

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."

Major General Yousef Huneiti, chairman of Jordanian armed forces, said: "The investigations are continuing. We will announce the results when we finish. All procedures were taken according to law. All people are under the law. Jordan's safety and stability is the priority."

Yaser al-Majali, director of Hamzah's office, and Adnan Abu Hammad, who manages the prince's palace, are among the detainees.

Sharif Hassan bin Zaid was formerly King Abdullah's special envoy to Saudi Arabia. Some local websites in Jordan say he holds Saudi citizenship.

Following his work in the king's office and a stint as finance minister, Awadallah established new businesses in UAE and Saudi Arabia. Some sources say he works as a consultant for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.