The Jordanian ‘Coup Plot’ Trial has reached its conclusion.
A Jordanian court will rule on the trial of two ex-officials accused of orchestrating a palace coup that caused a crisis in a nation that was once seen as a haven of stability on Monday.
Bassem Awadallah, a former royal court chief, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, an ex-envoy to Saudi Arabia, have been charged with conspiring with Prince Hamzah to have him overthrow his half-brother, King Abdullah II.
The prince was not put on trial.
Hamzah, 41, was charged with “being resolved to fulfill his own ambition to govern, in contravention of the Hashemite constitution and customs,” according to the 13-page charge sheet.
Both Awadallah and Bin Zaid, who have strong ties to Saudi Arabia, have pleaded not guilty to charges of “incitement against the ruling system” and “acts that could undermine society and cause sedition.”
The State Security Court, a military tribunal with civilian judges, will deliver the verdict, bringing an end to a trial that began on June 21.
If convicted on all charges, Awadallah, a Saudi national, and his co-defendant risk up to 20 years in prison.
Saudi Arabia, a regional giant, has categorically rejected any involvement in the purported plot.
In April, an unexpected royal crisis arose.
After officials said they had thwarted a plot to destabilize the pro-Western country, eighteen people were arrested, but 16 were eventually released.
In a video message posted by the BBC on April 3, Hamzah, a former crown prince who was dismissed as successor to the throne by the king in 2004, accused Jordan’s authorities of corruption and incapacity.
On the same day, he announced that he had been placed under house arrest.
Authorities then announced that he would not face charges because his case had been settled inside the royal family, with Hamzah swearing devotion to Abdullah.
On his late father’s request, the king nominated Hamzah as crown prince in 1999, but removed him from the position in 2004, later naming his son, Prince Hussein, as the next in line to the throne.
The court had dismissed a defense motion to call three princes as witnesses, as well as Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, as “unproductive.”
The trial took place behind closed doors in Amman, Jordan’s capital.
Mohammed Afif, Awadallah’s lawyer, had stated at the outset that the two defendants “insist that Prince Hamzah testify in this case.”
“The court has the final say, but if it refuses to summon him, it must justify its decision,” he told AFP on June 22.
Bin Zaid’s legal counsel. Brief News from Washington Newsday.