Jordan releases 16 of 18 arrested over attempted coup

Jordan’s prosecutor has released 16 people accused of taking part in an alleged plot to destabilise the kingdom but kept in detention two key suspects, state media says.

The decision concerning suspects in the case “to destabilise security and stability in Jordan” was taken at the request of King Abdullah II, Al-Mamlaka television and Petra news agency reports.

However, state prosecutor General Hazem al-Majali says key suspects Bassem Awadallah, a former royal court chief, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, an ex-special envoy to Saudi Arabia, would remain in detention.

King Abdullah was quoted by the royal court as saying he had called for the release of “brothers” who were “misled, wronged, dragged behind this sedition” so they could be with family as soon as possible during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Jordan’s King Abdullah delivers his speech at the European parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France, January 15, 2020. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)

State media said the king made the move after lobbying by a number of key figures from across Jordan who asked him to show tolerance.

When the news of the alleged plot first broke earlier this month, Abdullah’s half-brother Prince Hamzah was suspected of involvement. But authorities said later he would not stand trial as his case had been resolved within the royal family.

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