Appeal against verdict by Jordan’s ex-royal court chief rejected

Jordan's highest appeal court upheld a guilty verdict against a former confidant of Jordanian King Abdullah II and a minor royal who were sentenced to 15 years in jail.

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On Thursday, a guilty verdict by Jordan’s highest appeal court, against a former confidant of King Abdullah II and a minor royal who was sentenced 15 years in jail on charges of attempting to destabilize the monarchy, was upheld.

The cessation court said it confirmed evidence backing the sentence passed last July by a state security court against ex-royal court chief Bassem Awadallah, who played a big role in the drive to liberalize Jordan’s economy, and Sherif Hassan Zaid, a distant relative of King Abdullah II.

A statement by the appeal court read: “The court finds the acts committed were tangible activities that found their expression in ways meant to encourage and prod against the political system in Jordan.”

The two were arrested in early April when a former heir to the throne, Prince Hamzah, was placed under house arrest over allegations that he had liaised with foreign parties over a plot to destabilize Jordan.

The affair shocked Jordan because it exposed rifts within the ruling Hashemite family.

Awadallah and Zaid were accused of pushing Hamzah as an alternative to King Abdullah II, committing acts that threatened public security and sowing sedition.

The pair pleaded not guilty and said they had nothing to do with the case.

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