Jordan ‘coup plot’: two suspects plead not guilty

Two officials accused of helping Jordan’s Prince Hamzah try to overthrow his half-brother King Abdullah II have pleaded not guilty, one of their lawyers said on Monday as the trial began.

Former royal court chief Bassem Awadallah, who also holds Saudi nationality, and a former special envoy to Riyadh, Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, are charged with attempting to “destabilise the kingdom’s security”, according to court documents.

The trial began behind closed doors at the State Security Court and will continue on Tuesday, an official said.

According to state television, the court heard two out of a total of six witnesses — four military personnel and two civilians.

Mr. Awadallah’s lawyer Mohammad Afif said the defendants both pleaded not guilty.

Prince Hamzah, who is accused of attempting to overthrow the King and of seeking help from Saudi Arabia to do so, is not facing trial. Prince Hamzah, 41, “was determined to satisfy his personal ambition to rule, in violation of the constitution and Hashemite (Jordanian ruling family) custom,” according to an indictment. “To succeed, he sought to exploit the concerns and problems of the population and to arouse sedition and frustration in society,” it added.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 12:10:09 AM |

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