Jordan’s King Abdullah imposes severe restrictions on half-brother

Prince Hamza was accused of trying to destabilize the monarchy in a foreign-inspired plot.

Jordan's Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein delivers a speech in Amman (photo credit: REUTERS)
Jordan's Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein delivers a speech in Amman
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The rivalry between Jordan’s King Abdullah and his half-brother, former Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, has taken a dramatic turn as the latter was slapped with severe restrictions.

The dispute between the two reached its peak last year when the 42-year-old Hamzah was put under house arrest after accusing Jordan’s leaders of corruption, incompetence and harassment.

The move came after an alleged coup plot against the monarch was reportedly thwarted by the Jordanian authorities. The alleged plot is known in Jordan as the “sedition case.” Two of Hamzah’s friends have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their role in the case.

Hamzah was named crown prince of Jordan in 1999, a position he held until his older half-brother, King Abdullah, removed him from power in 2004.

Recently, Hamzah announced that he was renouncing his title of prince, saying his “personal convictions” were not in line with the “modern methods of our institutions.”

JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH II listens during a meeting in Amman in May. (credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH II listens during a meeting in Amman in May. (credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

In a message to the Jordanian people on Thursday, Abdullah announced that he had approved a recommendation by a royal family council to restrict Hamzah’s communications, residence and movements.

In his message, Abdullah said, “I am writing to you in the hope of turning a dark page in the history of our country and our family. As you know, when the details of the ‘sedition’ case were revealed last year, I chose to deal with my brother Prince Hamzah within the framework of our family, hoping that he would realize his mistake and come to his senses. However, after a year and a half, during which he exhausted all opportunities to return to his senses and adhere to the biography of our family, I came to the disappointing conclusion that he will not change.”

The king said he was sure that Hamzah lives in an illusion in which he sees himself as the guardian of the Hashemite heritage.

“His repeated speeches reflected his state of denial of the reality in which he lives, and his refusal to bear any responsibility for his actions,” the king charged. “My [half-] brother Hamzah is still ignoring all facts and hard evidence, and manipulating facts and events to reinforce his false narrative. Unfortunately, my brother really believes what he claims. The illusion he is living is not new; he ignores the facts, denies the principles, and assumes the role of the victim.”

The king said that over the past years, he has exercised “the utmost degree of tolerance, self-restraint and patience” with his half-brother.

However, Abdullah said, Hamzah “chose to depart from his family’s biography many years ago and adopted a negative behavior that was clear to all members of our family.”

The king accused Hamzah of “rejecting the traditions of our entire family and our Jordanian values.”

He also accused his half-brother of abusing his position as a prince by secretly recording a meeting he had last year with the chief of staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces.