Jordanian authorities release 16 linked to royal rift

King Abdullah II said some of those detained in the case were misled

Jordanian King Abdullah II, accompanied by his son Crown Prince Hussein and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces General Yousef Huneiti. AFP
Jordanian King Abdullah II, accompanied by his son Crown Prince Hussein and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces General Yousef Huneiti. AFP

Jordan has released 16 detainees arrested in connection within a rift within the royal family, authorities announced on Thursday.

Their release marked further de-escalation of the affair that had prompted international calls to preserve stability.

“A number of those detained in the latest events have been released. Their number is 16,” official media quoted State Security Court Hazem Al Majali as saying.

Eighteen men were arrested in the first week of April. Authorities said they were linked to unspecified action by King Abdullah's half-brother and former crown prince, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, to undermine security of the kingdom.

He was not arrested but was warned by the military to “stop movements and activities that are employed to target the security of Jordan and its stability”.

Former royal court chief Bassem Awadallah, and junior royal family member Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, remain incarcerated.

Mr Al Majali said the two men had “different roles” than the other 16, but did not give details. None of the 18 arrested have been charged.

The decision came after King Abdullah II urged officials to consider releasing some of the detainees.

In a statement released through the Twitter account of the Royal Hashemite Court, he said the request was made in the spirit of Ramadan, "when we all wish to be with family".

"I ask officials to look into the proper mechanism to have those who were misled into following the sedition, return to their families soon," the statement read.

Days after the arrests, tensions lessened after the intervention of Prince Hasan Bin Talal, the uncle of two men. He oversaw the signing of a declaration in which Prince Hamzah reaffirmed his allegiance to the king.

On April 11 King Abdullah and Prince Hamzah appeared together at the grave of their father, King Hussein, along with their brothers and cousins on the occasion of 100 years of the foundation of Jordan.

Updated: April 22, 2021 07:25 PM

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