Jordan’s version of a trial of the century gets under way this week when a relative of King Abdullah II and a former chief of the royal court are ushered into the defendants’ cage at the state security court to face charges of sedition and incitement.
They are accused of conspiring with a senior royal — Prince Hamzah, a half-brother of the king — to foment unrest against the monarch while soliciting foreign help.
The palace drama erupted into the open in early April, when Hamzah was placed under house arrest. It has since broken taboos in Jordan and sent jitters through foreign capitals, with Western powers rallying behind Abdullah, an indispensable ally in an unstable region.
The case exposed rivalries in Jordan’s traditionally discreet Hashemite dynasty and spawned unprecedented public criticism of the monarch. The defendants are the most senior establishment figures to appear before the security court, which typically goes after drug offenders or suspected militants.