Jordan releases 16 of those arrested in destabilizing palace plot: State media

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Jordan’s prosecutor released on Thursday 16 people accused of taking part in an alleged plot to destabilize the kingdom but kept in detention two key suspects, state media said.

The decision concerning suspects in the case “to destabilize security and stability in Jordan” was taken at the request of King Abdullah II, Al-Mamlaka television and Petra news agency reported.

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However, state prosecutor General Hazem al-Majali said key suspects Bassem Awadallah, a former royal court chief, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, an ex-special envoy to Saudi Arabia, would remain in detention.

“They have not been released because of their role and the level of incitement which is different than those of the other (16) accused who were set free,” Majali said.

King Abdullah was quoted by the royal court as saying he had called for the release of “brothers” who were “misled, wronged, dragged behind this sedition” so they could be with family as soon as possible during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

State media said the king made the move after lobbying by a number of key figures from across Jordan who asked him to show tolerance.

When the news of the alleged plot first broke earlier this month, Abdullah’s half-brother Prince Hamzah was suspected of involvement.
But authorities said later he would not stand trial as his case had been resolved within the royal family.

It came after the king broke several days of silence to tell the nation the worst political crisis in decades was over and the pair later appeared together in public.

After claiming he was put under house arrest on April 3, Hamzah had made extensive use of traditional and social media to lash out against his situation.

He accused Jordan’s rulers of corruption and ineptitude in a video message published by the BBC that same day.

But later on Abdullah said Hamzah had offered his support and loyalty for the monarchy and was now under his “protection”.

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