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Jordan arrests former adviser to King and others on 'security grounds'

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A Jordanian security source said that former royal envoy Sharif Hassan bin Zaid and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, a long-time confidant of the king, and others were arrested on security grounds, the Jordanian News Agency reported on Saturday evening.

The agency said that Prince Hamzah bin Hussein has not been arrested contrary to other reports it deemed false, adding that he is currently not subject to any restrictions or house arrest.

Jordanian King Abdullah’s half-brother and former Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein was asked to halt actions used to target the country’s “security and stability”, the military said on Saturday.

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The security source also added that the arrest operation came after close security follow-up and was carried out by a joint force of Military Security and Intelligence, under the supervision of the Army Commander.

Sources told Al Arabiya that investigations began with the detainees without mentioning the security reasons.

Al Arabiya correspondent quoted sources that the arrests in Jordan included companions and close associates of Prince Hamzah, pointing out that the arrests campaign included at least 20 people, including security and tribal figures.

Sources added that the arrests in Jordan were carried out against the background of an undisclosed security issue.

Al Arabiya correspondent confirmed the presence of intense security presence in the capital, Amman, and Dabouq area, where the royal palace is located.

Arrests of top officials and royal family members are rare in Jordan.

Awadallah, who was a driving force behind economic reforms before he resigned as chief of the royal court in 2008, has long faced stiff resistance from an old guard and an entrenched bureaucracy that flourished for years on government perks.

Jordan’s powerful intelligence agency, with a pervasive influence in public life, has played a bigger public role since the introduction of emergency laws at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic last year, which civic groups say violate civil and political rights.

- with Reuters

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