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The Telegraph

Jordan prince vows to defy orders not to communicate with public after coup accusation

Prince Hamzah, the former Jordanian Crown Prince under house arrest for allegedly collaborating with a foreign entity to destabilise the country, says he “will not obey” orders from the military that silence him and restrict his movement. “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 to Twitter on Sunday night. “When the head of the joint chiefs of staff comes and tells you this… I think it’s a bit unacceptable,” he added. The Jordanian government says they cut off Prince Hamzah’s communications after foiling a plot against his half-brother, King Abdullah II, at “zero hour” over the weekend. Deputy Prime Minister Ayman al-Safadi told a news conference on Sunday that his activities amounted to “promoting sedition”. At least 16 others were arrested on Saturday night, dramatically laying bare a searing schism in a family that usually presents a united front, as well as the potential for destabilisation of a key western ally. While intelligence officials pointed towards the possibility of a planned coup, little evidence of the traditional elements of a coup has been presented, leaving analysts speculating whether the move was a cover-up for another political manoeuvre or an attempt to silence Hamzah. The former Crown Prince, who was stripped of his title by Abdullah in 2004, remains popular among Jordan’s powerful tribes who are disgruntled with the struggling economy. Earlier in the week, videos of Hamzah laughing with members of a powerful Jordanian tribe circulated on Whatsapp. On Saturday when Hamzah detailed his house arrest in a video sent to the BBC, he presented himself as a critic of the monarchy, citing corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism. At the press conference, Mr Safadi said the government had intercepted communications with “foreign parties over the right timing to destabilise Jordan” and that a foreign intelligence agency had contacted Prince Hamzah’s wife, offering to send a plane to help the couple flee Jordan. Citing an “informed source”, Jordan’s Ammon news agency claimed that Israeli Roy Shaposhnik, a former Mossad agent, was the person that offered to send a private jet for the couple and their children. In a statement on Sunday evening Mr Shaposhnik denied ever being a Mossad agent but confirmed that he offered to help Hamzah as part of their “personal friendship”.