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Friday, July 23, 2021

Jordanian courtroom to announce verdict in alleged royal plot

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AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A Jordanian state safety courtroom is anticipated to announce a verdict Monday within the trial of two former officers accused of plotting with the half-brother of King Abdullah II to foment unrest within the Western-allied kingdom.

Bassem Awadallah, a U.S. citizen and former prime aide to the king, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal household, had been arrested in April over an alleged plot towards the dominion involving Prince Hamzah, the king’s half-brother and a former crown prince.

The royal household says it resolved the dispute with Hamzah, whose precise standing is unknown however was by no means formally charged. Awadallah’s U.S. lawyer says his consumer alleged he was tortured in Jordanian detention and fears for his life.

The three Jordanians had been accused of fomenting unrest towards the monarch whereas soliciting overseas assist. Hamzah denied the allegations in video statements launched in April after he was positioned below home arrest, saying he was being silenced for talking out towards corruption and poor governance by the ruling system.

Each defendants have pleaded not responsible to sedition and incitement prices, which carry prolonged jail phrases.

Abdullah is anticipated in Washington on July 19, when he would be the first Arab chief to fulfill with President Joe Biden on the White Home. Jordan is a detailed U.S. ally within the Center East and is seen as a key accomplice in finally reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace course of.

Michael Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor employed by Awadallah’s U.S.-based household, instructed The Related Press that the closed-door trial, which consisted of simply six hearings, “has been utterly unfair.”

Awadallah says he has been been overwhelmed, subjected to electrical shock and was threatened with future mistreatment “if he didn’t confess,” Sullivan mentioned.

The courtroom denied requests by Jordanian protection attorneys to name witnesses and prosecutors solely shared purported transcripts, however not audio, from surveillance of the alleged plotters.

The prosecutor’s workplace on the state safety courtroom denied the trial was unfair, saying Awadallah was given due course of in keeping with Jordanian regulation and was not mistreated in any means. It mentioned Awadallah solely raised the torture allegations as the decision neared.

Sullivan, a former U.S. lawyer for Massachusetts and former performing director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, mentioned that based mostly on the best way the trial was carried out, a responsible verdict seemed to be a foregone conclusion. He mentioned any conviction can be appealed.

Awadallah, who additionally holds Jordanian and Saudi citizenship, served as head of the royal courtroom and authorities minister in Jordan. He has in depth enterprise pursuits within the Gulf and has suggested Saudi Arabia’s highly effective crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on attracting overseas funding. The Awadallah household urged the Biden administration to name for his launch.

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