A court in Jordan has captured a former head of the royal court and a relative of King Abdullah guilty of rioting and provocation against the monarchy.
Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, who dismissed the charges, were both convicted to 15 years in prison.
The two men were arrested in April when former Crown Prince Hamzah was put under house arrest for a suspected conspiracy to destabilize the country.
Prince Hamza, who is the king’s half-brother, has not faced any charges.
The king said he had decided to handle his case “within the framework of the Hashemite family” after Prince Hamzah had publicly pledged his allegiance.
Prince Hamzah, 41, is the eldest son of the late King Hussein and his favourite wife, Queen Noor.
He crowned prince in 1999 when his father died, and Abdullah became king. However, Abdullah stripped Hamzah of his post in 2004.
On April 3, the prince released two videos in which he says he was placed under house arrest. He cited a senior official as stating that criticism of the king had been voiced at meetings he had attended.
He refused any misconduct and declared that he had only spoken out against corruption and weak government.
But the deputy prime minister claims he had a link with a number of foreign entities and wanted to mobilize ‘clan leaders against the government’.
On April 5, Prince Hamzah signed a letter pledging that he was “committed to the constitution”.
King Abdullah later declared that his half-brother was ‘under my care’ with his family in his palace.
Eighteen people have been arrested over the alleged conspiracy. All but Awadallah and Sharif Hassan were freed without charges at the end of April.
The two stood trial at the State Security Court last month for ‘inciting the political regime’ and ‘carrying out acts that endanger the safety and security of society and provoke riots’.
An indictment alleges that they had a conspiracy with Prince Hamzah, who he said was “determined to fulfil his personal ambition to govern”.
The trial took place behind doors and finished after only six sittings. A request by defence attorneys to call Prince Hamzah as a witness was denied.
A U.S. attorney hired by Awadallah’s family told the Associated Press on Sunday that the trial was “completely unreasonable” and that Awadallah had been beaten in custody. Prosecutors dismissed the claim.