Jordan sentences two ex-officials over royal ‘sedition’ plot

July 12, 2021: A Jordanian court has sentenced a former royal aide and a minor royal to 15 years in prison for trying to destabilize the kingdom.

Bassem Awadallah a U.S. citizen who once served as a top aide to King Abdullah II, and a member of the royal family, Sharef Hassan bin Zaid, was found guilty Monday of sedition and incitement. The court said it had confirmed evidence to support the allegations against the couple and that they had both vowed to harm the king by enthroning Prince Hamza as a replacement for the king.

The allegations came as a shock to Jordan as it exposed the rift between the country’s ruling Hashemite family, which has been a center of stability in a volatile region in recent years.

Former Finance Minister Awadallah, who was a driving force behind Jordan’s liberal economic reforms, has been accused of undermining the political system and endangering public safety and sowing seeds of confusion. He pleaded not guilty and said he had nothing to do with the case. The abducted Prince Hamza evaded punishment after swearing allegiance to the king last April, reversing the crisis that had landed him under house arrest. The former Crown Prince himself was not present at the trial.

But the 13-page chargesheet states that Hamza, 41, is “determined to fulfill his personal desire to rule, in violation of the constitution and customs.” Awadullah and his co-accused had been on trial since June 21 and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges. Photographs released by authorities show the two men, dressed in light blue prison uniforms, entering the courthouse in black uniforms on Monday.

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