Divide in the Jordanian royal family has been deepening as for crown prince Hamza says he will disobey orders by the army to not communicate with the outside world after he was put under house arrest.
The half-brother of King Abdullah II said in a voice recording sent to contacts on Monday and released by the country’s opposition that he would not “escalate” moves after being barred from any activity and told to keep quiet.
“I don’t want to make moves and escalate now, but of course I’m not going to obey when they say you can’t go out, you can’t tweet, you can’t communicate with people, you’re only allowed to see your family,” he said in an audio recording posted on Twitter late on Sunday.
Jordan’s deputy prime minister said on Sunday that Prince Hamzah, 41, had been liaising with “foreigners” in a “malicious plot” to destabilise the country.
On Saturday, the military “had issued a warning” to the prince over actions targeting “security and stability” in the kingdom. Prince Hamzah later said he was under house arrest. Several high-profile figures were also detained.
Hamza – a former crown prince stripped of the title by Abdullah in 2004 – has been a vocal critic of the monarchy, accusing it of corruption, nepotism and authoritarian rule.
In a video he sent to a British media outlet, he denied being involved in a plot and said he had been ordered under house arrest by Jordan’s most senior military figure, General Youssef Huneiti.
In the latest recording, Hamzah said: “When the head of the joint chiefs of staff comes and tells you this … I think it’s a bit unacceptable”.
It is unclear why the kingdom decided to take action against Prince Hamzah now, but he has reportedly put himself at risk by making frequent visits to tribal gatherings where some people criticised the king.
Officials said efforts were under way to resolve the crisis within the royal family, in the first such open rift in many years, but the prince was not cooperative.