News ID: 92342
Publish Date : 12 July 2021 - 21:35

AMMAN (Dispatches) – A Jordanian court on Monday sentenced a former royal confidant, Bassem Awadallah, and a minor royal to 15 years in jail on charges of attempting to destabilize the monarchy.
The military court said it had confirmed evidence backing the charges against the pair and that they had both been determined to harm the monarchy by pushing former heir to the throne Prince Hamza as an alternative to the king.
“The two defendants held views that are against the political system and the monarchy and sought to create chaos and sedition in Jordanian society,” said Lieutenant Colonel Muafak Masaed before pronouncing the sentence.
The charges shocked Jordan because they exposed rifts within the ruling Hashemite family that has been a beacon of stability in a volatile region in recent years.
Awadallah, a former finance minister who was a driving force behind Jordan’s liberal economic reforms, was charged with agitating to undermine the political system and committing acts that threaten public security and sowing sedition.
He pleaded not guilty and has said he had nothing to do with the case.
Before the verdict was announced, U.S. lawyer Michael Sullivan who represents Awadallah, who also holds U.S. citizenship, alleged the former royal court chief had been tortured and denied a fair trial. His family has also alleged he was tortured and said his confession was extracted under duress.
Authorities deny any mistreatment.
His Jordanian defense team said they would appeal the decision.
The estranged Prince Hamza, who had been placed under house arrest earlier this year, avoided punishment and defused the crisis last April after pledging allegiance to the king, and is not on trial.
The verdict follows three weeks after the first session of the trial was held.
The high-profile case, which saw the arrest of at least 18 people, brought to light internal family rifts in the kingdom’s Hashemite dynasty and sparked unprecedented public criticism of the monarch.
What made the case intriguing was the alleged foreign help sought by co-conspirators to exploit the king’s perceived vulnerability at a time when he was under pressure from Washington and Riyadh to normalize ties with the Zionist regime.
The occupying regime, Saudi Arabia and the United States had apparently joined forces to pressure King Abdullah II to partake in the U.S.-sponsored “normalization deals” with Tel Aviv, according to the Washington Post.
The Jordanian monarch resisted the attempts, leading to a plot to “destabilize” the country.

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