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UN concerned by 'lack of transparency' over arrests in Jordan

UN human rights office says it's unclear whether Prince Hamzah remains under de facto house arrest
Jordan's Prince Hamzah said he was being held under house arrest.
Jordan's former crown prince is accused of trying to destabilise the kingdom (AFP)

The UN human rights office said on Friday it remained unclear whether Jordan's Prince Hamzah remains under de facto house arrest, and voiced concern at what it called a lack of transparency surrounding at least 16 other detentions.

"We'd like to state that aside from broad accusations it appears that no charges have been yet brought and we are concerned at the lack of transparency around these arrests and detention," UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said during a news briefing in Geneva.

Jordan's King Abdullah II broke his silence on Wednesday to tell the kingdom that the worst political crisis in decades was over.

The crisis erupted over the weekend when Jordan's military chief of staff visited Prince Hamzah and warned him to stop attending meetings with critics of the government.

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The contents of a recording of the conversation between Prince Hamzah and Major General Yousef Huneiti were shared with Middle East Eye on Sunday. 

In the recording, made on Saturday morning, Huneiti could be heard warning Prince Hamzah against talking to tribal leaders and disaffected others in the kingdom, as he placed the prince under house arrest.

The situation quickly escalated, with Hamzah accusing the security establishment of threatening him. He ordered the general to leave his home.

The former crown prince said he was then held under house arrest, while authorities detained other people, including Hassan bin Zayed, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Awadallah, a former top official, over what it called threats to the "security and stability" of the kingdom.

The government accused Hamzah of being part of a "malicious plot" to destabilise the country with foreign support, but the following day, it said the royal family had resolved the dispute.

Hamzah signed a letter in which he promised to abide by the traditions and approaches of the ruling Hashemite monarch family, the royal court said in a statement on Monday.

King Abdullah said an investigation would be carried out in accordance with the law, and that the next steps would be governed by "the interests of the homeland and of our loyal people".