Jordan’s Court of Cessation on Thursday upheld the decisions of the security court having found Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan Zaid guilty of sedition, and working with a foreign country to destabilize the monarchy. The court had found the acts committed had been tangible activities that found their expression in ways meant to encourage and provoke action against the political system in Jordan.
The two were sentenced to 15-years imprisonment each in July, in a case which also saw former heir to the throne, Prince Hamza, placed under house arrest for allegedly plotting to overthrow King Abdullah, through instrumentalizing the disillusionment caused by the country’s haphazard handling of the coronavirus crisis, and growing disaffection amongst Jordanian tribes. Hamza was placed under house arrest in April, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia being fingered as the main hands behind the plot.
Awadallah’s lawyer alleged torture in obtaining a confession, which the court denied. Human Rights groups have also accused the trial of lacking in process, procedure and it faced criticism for having been conducted in a security court.
Prince Hamza remains popular in Jordan, and was reportedly King Hussain’s favoured heir, but for his age. His popularity has increased following King Abdullah’s appointment of his son to be the next in-line, with many having seen Hamza as being the most competent air to Abdullah.
Awadallah was a former royal chief, finance minister, and also close to Mohammed Bin Salman, being the main architect behind the country’s privatization drive.
King Abdullah is increasingly unpopular in Jordan, a fact which has been made worse by the coronavirus crises and the flaws it has exposed.