Suspects in Jordan coup plot want Prince Hamza to testify

AMMAN, Jordan — Two officials accused of plotting to overthrow Jordan’s king and replace him with his half-brother Prince Hamza want the prince to testify in their trial, a lawyer for one of them says today.

“The two defendants, Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, insist that Prince Hamza testify in this case,” Mohammad Afif, who represents Awadallah, tell AFP.

“The final decision is up to the court, but if it refuses to summon him, it must justify it,” he says on the second day of the closed-door trial in the State Security Court in Amman.

Former royal court chief Awadallah and Bin Zaid, once a special envoy to Riyadh, are accused of trying to help Prince Hamza overthrow King Abdullah II. They have pleaded not guilty.

Prince Hamza, 41, is not facing trial, although the indictment says he “was determined to fulfil his personal ambition to rule, in violation of the Hashemite constitution and customs.”

Jordan’s Prince Hamzah Bin Al-Hussein, in 2015. (KHALIL MAZRAAWI / AFP)

The court heard two prosecution witnesses yesterday, while three others gave written statements.

Today, it heard the last witness presented by the prosecution, the lawyer says.

“At the next hearing on Sunday, the two defendants will present their defense in writing and then at the next session we will ask the court to hear five to 10 defense witnesses,” he says.

As part of the prosecution’s case is based on wiretaps conducted by the security services, Afif says “the defense plans to call on Jordanian and foreign experts to verify the authenticity of the recordings.”

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