Jordan's Prince Hamzah bin Hussein 'under house arrest'
The half-brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II said Saturday he has been placed under house arrest and accused the country's “system” of incompetence and corruption, exposing a rare rift within the ruling monarchy of a close Western ally.
In a videotaped statement obtained by the Associated Press, Prince Hamzah said he was ''not part of or aware of any conspiracy.''
Hamzah said he had been informed he was being punished for taking part in meetings in which the king had been criticized, though he himself was not accused of being a direct critic.
The country's top general had earlier denied that Hamzah - a former crown prince stripped of the title in 2004 - was arrested or under house arrest, even as authorities announced the arrests of former senior officials close to the ruling monarchy.
He said an investigation was ongoing and its results would be made public “in a transparent and clear form.”
The official Petra news agency had earlier reported that two senior officials who formerly worked for the palace, along with other suspects, had been arrested for “security reasons,” without providing further details.
Abdullah has ruled Jordan since the 1999 death of his father, King Hussein, who ruled the country for close to a half-century.
Abdullah stripped his half-brother Hamzah of his title as crown prince in 2004, saying he had decided to “free” him from the "constraints of the position" to allow him to take on other responsibilities.
The move was seen at the time as part of Abdullah's consolidation of power five years after the succession.
The current crown prince is Abdullah’s oldest son, Hussein, who is 26.
Abdullah and Hamzah have not displayed any open rivalry over the years.
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