UN rights office voices concern over arrests in Jordan

Jordan's Prince Hamza has pledged to disobey military orders to not communicate with the outside world after he was put under house arrest, in an audio recording released on Monday.

The United Nations human rights office has said that it was unclear whether Jordan’s Prince Hamzah remains under de facto house arrest and voiced concern at what it called a lack of transparency surrounding at least 16 detentions.

“We’d like to state that aside from broad accusations it appears that no charges have been yet brought and we are concerned at the lack of transparency around these arrests and detention,” UN human rights spokeswoman Marta Hurtado on Friday told a Geneva news briefing where she was asked about the case.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on Wednesday sedition had been quashed after a rift with his half-brother and former heir Hamzah, whom the government had accused of links to efforts destabilise the country.

The crisis in the royal family erupted during the weekend, when Jordan’s military chief of staff visited Prince Hamzah and warned him to stop attending meetings with critics of the government.

Things quickly escalated, with Hamzah accusing the security establishment of threatening him and ordering the general to leave his home.

The former crown prince said he was then held under house arrest, and authorities detained other people, including former senior officials.

The government accused Hamzah of being part of a “malicious plot” to destabilise the country with foreign support, but the following day, it said the royal family had resolved the dispute.

Hamzah signed a letter in which he promised to abide by the traditions and approaches of the ruling Hashemite monarch family, the royal court said in a statement on Monday.

Abdullah said an investigation will be carried out in accordance with the law, and that the next steps will be governed by “the interests of the homeland and of our loyal people”.

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