After being put under house arrest, Jordan’s estranged Prince Hamzah says he would defy army orders not to interact with the outside world.
After being barred from any activity and ordered to keep silent, King Abdullah II’s half-brother and former heir to the throne said in a voice recording sent to contacts on Monday and released by the country’s opposition that he would not “escalate” moves.
“I don’t want to make moves and escalate now, but of course I’m not going to obey when they say you can’t go out, you can’t tweet, you can’t communicate with people, you’re only allowed to see your family,” he said in an audio recording posted on Twitter late on Sunday.
Jordan’s deputy prime minister said on Sunday that Prince Hamzah, 41, was involved in a “malicious scheme” to destabilize the country by coordinating with foreign parties.
On Saturday, the military said it had given an alert to the prince over actions aimed at ensuring the kingdom’s “safety and stability.” Later, Prince Hamzah said that he was put under house arrest. A number of high-profile people have been arrested.
Hamzah, a former crown prince who was stripped of his title in 2004 by Abdullah, has been a vocal opponent of the monarchy, accusing it of corruption, nepotism, and authoritarian rule.
He denied being involved in a plot in a video sent to the BBC on Saturday, and said he had been put under house arrest by Jordan’s most senior military official, General Youssef Huneiti.
“When the president of the joint chiefs of staff comes and tells you this…,” Hamzah said in the most recent recording. I think it’s a little too much.”
While it is unclear why the kingdom has chosen to take action against Prince Hamzah at this time, he is said to have put himself in jeopardy by attending tribal gatherings where some people have criticized the king.
Officials said they were trying to overcome the crisis within the royal family, which was the first in many years, but the prince declined to comply.
Jordan, which is generally seen as a bulwark of stability in the Middle East, has exposed divisions as a result of the palace chaos.
The United States, big Gulf states, Egypt, and the Arab League have all pledged their support for King Abdullah and his efforts to maintain peace.
Jordan is a small country with a large strategic significance in a volatile area. It shares borders with Israel and the West Bank, as well as Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
It is home to millions of exiled Palestinians and more than half a million Syrian refugees, as well as US forces.