April 5 (UPI) — The former crown prince of Jordan said he has been placed on house arrest and had his communication cut off as security forces said they uncovered a plot to overthrow the king.
Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the half-brother of Jordan’s ruler King Abdullah II, said in a video obtained by the BBC that the chief of the general staff told him he was not allowed to leave his home or communicate with people and was ordered to stop actions that could be used to target Jordan’s “security and stability.”
He said the lockdown was put into place due to criticisms of the king or government voiced at meetings where he was present but added he was not accused of making the criticisms himself.
“I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, the corruption and incompetence that has been prevailing in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years has been getting worse … And I am not responsible for the lack of faith people have in their institutions,” he said. “It has reached a point where no one is able to speak or express opinions on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened.”
The Jordanian Armed forces confirmed that as many as 20 people had been arrested and that Hamzah had been “asked to cease all movements” as an investigation into his actions was underway.
Officials said they had discovered a far-reaching plot to unseat Abdullah that involved at least one other Jordanian Royal, tribal leaders and members of the country’s political and security establishment as well as unspecified “foreign” backing.
Among the others arrested were Sharif Hasan, another member of the royal family and Bassem Awadullah, a former senior official in Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the nation is “closely following” the reports out of Jodan and has been in touch with Jordanian officials.
“King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States and he has our full support,” he wrote on Twitter.
Saudi Arabia also expressed support for King Abdullah, according to a statement from the Saudi Press Agency.
“The Kingdom affirms its complete stand by the sisterly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its full support with all its capabilities for all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein and His Highness Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, Crown Prince, to maintain security and stability,” the statement read.
The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and Britain also offered messages of support.