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Jordan coup plot accused want Prince Hamzah to testify: Lawyer

Published: Updated:

Two officials accused of plotting to overthrow Jordan's king and replace him with his half-brother Prince Hamzah want the prince to testify in their trial, a lawyer for one of them said Tuesday.

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"The two defendants, Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, insist that Prince Hamzah testify in this case," Mohammad Afif, who represents Awadallah, told AFP.

"The final decision is up to the court, but if it refuses to summon him, it must justify it," he said on the second day of the closed-door trial in the State Security Court in Amman.

Former royal court chief Awadallah and Bin Zaid are accused of trying to help Prince Hamzah overthrow King Abdullah II. They have pleaded not guilty.

Prince Hamzah, 41, is not facing trial, although the indictment says he "was determined to fulfil his personal ambition to rule, in violation of the Hashemite constitution and customs".

The court heard two prosecution witnesses on Monday, while three others gave written statements.

On Tuesday, it heard the last witness presented by the prosecution, the lawyer said.

"At the next hearing on Sunday, the two defendants will present their defense in writing and then at the next session we will ask the court to hear five to 10 defense witnesses," he said.

As part of the prosecution's case is based on wiretaps conducted by the security services, Afif said "the defense plans to call on Jordanian and foreign experts to verify the authenticity of the recordings".

King Abdullah appointed Hamzah as crown prince in 1999, at the request of his late father, but removed him from the post in 2004 to appoint his son, Prince Hussein, as next in line to the throne in 2009.

Authorities said the prince would not stand trial as his case had been resolved within the royal family.

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