AMMAN, Jordan

A Jordanian state security court on Monday issued a 15-year sentence against two former officials involved in an attempt to destabilize the monarchy in a trial that came to be known as the “Sedition Case”.

The verdict was announced in an open session headed by military judge Muwafaq al-Masaeed, who said the two men were involved in incitement against the Jordanian political system and exposing the society’s safety and security to jeopardy.

Al-Masaeed described what happened as a “criminal enterprise that targeted the existing ruling system [in Jordan].”

The two former officials are Bassem Awadallah, a US citizen and a former chairman of Jordan’s Royal Court and royal family member Sharif Hassan bin Zaid.

On April 4, the Jordanian authorities announced that “preliminary investigations” showed the involvement of Prince Hamzah – half-brother of King Abdullah II – with “foreign parties” in “attempts to destabilize the security of the country” and “mobilizing citizens against the state.”

The accusations were denied by Hamzah and on April 5 he signed a letter confirming his loyalty to the king.

Awadallah and bin Zaid along with 16 others were arrested following the incident. However, King Abdullah II ordered the release of the 16 and kept Awadallah and bin Zaid in custody.

Late in June, the New York Times published a report in which it said Saudi Arabia pressured Jordan to release Awadallah, who also served as special adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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