Recording emerges of heated exchange between Jordan’s Prince Hamzah and army chief
An audio recording emerged on several social media platforms seemingly of a heated exchange between Jordan’s former Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein and the country’s army chief, amid one of the worst crises the Jordanian palace has seen in decades.
According to the recording, chief-of-staff General Youssef Huneiti can be heard asking the Crown Prince to avoid posting on social media and avoid speaking publicly at social occasions, as that causes “people to talk.”
Al Arabiya English could not independently verify the authenticity of the audio recording.
However, the prince’s voice is recognizable, and the recorded exchange is in line with the video message Hamza released through the BBC on Saturday, in which he said he was under house arrest and had been told to stay at home and not to contact anyone.
“I'm asking his royal highness starting from today to stop attending these events, stop meeting with these people... and stick to family visits, and that there be no tweets,” Huneiti said.
Hamza is then heard asking for the men to bring around the army chief’s car.
“You come to me, telling me what to do and what not to do… in my country. You’re coming to threaten me… What is this? You’re telling me not to go out to see people… Are the security services threatening me?” the prince said.
Huneiti replied: “We are not threatening.”
Hamza responded: “Mismanagement of the country is my fault? The failure taking place is my fault? … You come to my house to tell me the heads of security services are threatening me? Don’t leave your house, don’t see anyone but your family and don’t tweet?”
“Sir, get in your car and leave,” he said.
“Excuse me. I respect you and your organization. But you do not speak to me in this manner… Get in your car and get out of this house.”
He added: “I am a free Jordanian, the son of my father (King Hussein). I have the right to mix with my people, people of my country, and to serve my country, as I promised him and swore to him when he was on his deathbed.”
The Crown Prince asked the army chief: “Where were you 20 years ago? I was a Crown Prince by orders of my father, may he rest in peace. I vowed to him to continue serving my country and my people as long as I lived.”
The army chief responded: “Sir, we are not threatening you. We’re telling you, you have crossed red lines.”
"Next time, don't come and threaten me in my house. The house of Hussein. God help you," the Crown Prince ended the conversation saying.
Hamza had said earlier in the week he was given a warning from the Chief of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces, the Chief of Police, and the Chief of Security Services that he should not leave his house, that he could only visit family, that he could not tweet, and that he could not communicate with people.
He also stressed that he was not part of any foreign conspiracy and denounced the ruling system as corrupt.
The former Crown Prince had been told to halt actions used to target the country's "security and stability", the military said earlier on Saturday.
In a statement published on the state news agency, it said this was part of a broader, ongoing security investigation in which a former minister, a member of the royal family and unnamed others were detained.
Army chief Yusef Huneity denied reports that Prince Hamza had been arrested but said he was told to "stop activities that are being exploited to target Jordan's security and stability". He did not specify what such actions were.
- With Agencies