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BJP Supporters Say ‘Won’t Forgive’ Modi for COVID’s ‘Indifference’ | News about the coronavirus pandemic

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New delhi, india – On April 29, Amit Jaiswal, a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), passed away in Mathura, a small town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, just three hours from the national capital.

The 42-year-old man died of COVID-19 ten days after testing positive. His grieving family said that despite repeated SOS tweets to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who followed Jaiswal on Twitter, they received no help.

The RSS, a far-right Hindu supremacist organization founded in 1925, is the ideological source of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and counts the prime minister among millions of its members across India.

Jaiswal’s heartbroken family tore down Modi’s posters that he had pasted on his car, claiming that “they would never forgive Modi for his indifference.”

“We are in a state of deep depression and we cannot speak to anyone, no one can help us,” his inconsolable sister Sonu Alagh told Al Jazeera two weeks later.

For many supporters who believed in Modi, his response to the pandemic has led to disappointment.

Grieved and angered by the preventable deaths of their loved ones due to the coronavirus, thousands of Indians have accumulated dismissive criticism of Modi and his BJP, with bitterness that transcends the barriers of religion, class, caste and politics.

Over the past two months, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have seen anti-Modi hashtags like #ResignModi, #ModiFailsIndia, and #ModiAgainstNation go viral.

But BJP politician Sudhanshu Mittal says the government “did everything possible” to combat the pandemic.

“When you travel an unexplored path there are no benchmarks to follow and no one knew that this would be the catastrophic extension of the second wave,” he told Al Jazeera, adding that health is a “state issue” and that “some states are playing politics ”.

“This is not the time for politics or the blame game. That can happen later, ”Mittal said.

‘I will not vote for modes again’

Chetan Kaushal, a restaurateur who was forced to close his business due to the coronavirus shutdown last year, says he is one of those who voted for Modi despite demonetization and “other failures” in his first term (2014-19 ) as prime minister. .

The demonetization refers to Modi’s controversial overnight ban on higher denomination banknotes and the issuance of new banknotes in 2016, which caused great chaos as people crowded ATMs and banks to withdraw their money.

“I thought he deserved a second chance, but I don’t think I will vote for him again,” Kaushal told Al Jazeera.

The specter of sudden and unnecessary deaths appears to have drawn unprecedented criticism even from Modi’s supporters.

Achyut Trivedi, a New Delhi-based marketing professional and an active member of BJP for the past 12 years, said that “people like me are determined not to make the mistake of voting for modes for the third time.”

“At least I won’t after what my family has been through,” he told Al Jazeera.

Modi, who has faced international criticism for a crumbling economy and a noticeable decline in civil and political liberties, faces his biggest threat domestically as a vicious second wave of COVID-19 spreads across India.

Backed by his seemingly unwavering popularity at home, Modi told world leaders at the World Economic Forum in January this year that India “has saved humanity from a great disaster by effectively containing Corona.”

That premature claim was soon followed by India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, which donated and exported more than 66 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to dozens of countries – a “vaccine diplomacy” that is now being widely used. criticized amid a severe injection shortage in the country. .

On March 7, Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that India was “at the end of the pandemic.”

‘Picnic at a public hanging’

In February and March, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) warning of a new strain of COVID-19 discovered in India as a “variant of concern,” Modi turned his attention to regional elections in five states. , including the eastern state of West Bengal. where he and his BJP hoped to evict India’s only serving senior minister, Mamata Banerjee.

With all caution, Modi addressed dozens of election rallies attended by tens of thousands of BJP supporters jostling each other amid a pandemic.

“Today in all directions I only see large crowds of people … I have witnessed such a rally for the first time,” Modi said at a rally in the West Bengal town of Asansol on April 17, even as the country reported more than 200,000 daily cases. that day.

The BJP’s Mittal states that “there is no empirical evidence” to link the explosion of COVID-19 cases or deaths to voting campaigns.

“We can also say that the agitation of the farmers was responsible for the cases, since that was also a great agitation. I don’t think we can conclude that people are angry, that’s a subjective matter depending on your perspective, “he told Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, Modi’s maskless photograph appeared on the front pages of major newspapers in April, inviting Hindu devotees to congregate for a week-long religious festival on the banks of the Ganges River in the city of Haridwar in the northern state of Uttarakhand. .

The Kumbh Mela, or pitcher festival, as the pilgrimage was called, saw nearly nine million visitors take a holy bath in the river in less than three weeks, turning the event into a “super spreader” of the virus and giving as resulted in dozens of deaths across India.

“Despite warnings about the risks of super-spread events, the government allowed religious festivals to take place, attracting millions of people from across the country, along with large political demonstrations, noted for the lack of measures. of COVID-19 mitigation “, medical journal. Lancet wrote in a scathing indictment.

Amid the raging pandemic, critics have also criticized Modi for going ahead with a $ 2.8 billion “Central View” project to build a new parliament, the prime minister’s residence and other federal buildings.

Senior journalist Nalini Singh told Al Jazeera that the ongoing construction “is like having a picnic at a public hanging.”

‘What will cry about?’

Concerned about the growing public backlash against his government’s handling of the pandemic and “misplaced priorities,” Modi and his RSS colleagues participated in a meeting on May 23 to plan strategy for the upcoming state elections. year in Uttar Pradesh.

It was in this BJP-ruled northern state, also India’s most populous, that chilling images of bodies floating in the Ganges River and mass graves found along its banks made headlines around the world.

Headed by the controversial Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath as state prime minister, the BJP suffered severe setbacks in local body elections held in April and May, despite the pandemic threatening the lives of government workers deployed to celebrate the urns.

Last week, the Uttar Pradesh Primary Teachers Association said that nearly 1,600 teachers died from COVID-19 after they were forced to work as election officials.

On Monday, Delhi police “visited” Twitter offices to discover details as to why the social media giant had labeled a BJP spokesperson’s tweets as “manipulated media.”

In his tweet, Sambit Patra had shared an alleged “toolkit” prepared by the opposition Congress Party, which according to the BJP was used to smear ways.

On Thursday, Twitter said it was concerned for the safety of its staff in India following the action by the Delhi police.

Modi’s detractors accuse the Hindu nationalist leader of “manipulating narratives” through “docile and subordinate means,” attacking his opponents using government agencies, and remaining focused only on winning elections, often at the cost of governance.

Anand Singh, a prosperous garment merchant in Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh, also the constituency of Modi, says that holding political rallies during a pandemic and deciding to go ahead with local body elections in the state was like “Pour salt on our wounds.”

“I had never expected that we would have to go through so much pain despite having wealth and social capital,” Singh told Al Jazeera.

Varanasi reflected the experience in many parts of the country that saw a large increase in COVID-related deaths, frenzied calls for oxygen cylinders, and disturbing images of cremated bodies even in crematorium parking lots and queuing for final rites.

“I had my reservations about the BJP and Modi, but I reasoned with myself and trusted their promise of development. On two occasions they were given an overwhelming mandate that could have been used to make progress, but there have been so many announcements and no executions, ”a New Delhi businessman who requested anonymity told Al Jazeera.

“It seems that he is a man who wants power for power’s sake.”

In a recent online interaction with healthcare workers in Varanasi, Modi got emotional as she spoke. But reactions to videos on social media sites of him drowning saw more “upsets,” with many calling him out for his “Crocodile tears”.

“He cries despite being the prime minister. We have lost lives and businesses in this pandemic. We expected better from him, ”Singh said.

“What will cry about?”

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Israel launches official investigation into deadly festival stampede

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JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s government on Sunday approved the establishment of an independent state commission to investigate a deadly disaster at a Jewish holy site in April that left 45 people dead.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the commission would investigate major security deficiencies that led to a deadly stampede at the Lag Baomer celebrations on Mount Meron.

It will be presided over by a current or former superior judge, and its members will be selected by the president of the country’s Supreme Court of Justice.

Some 100,000 people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, gathered for the April 29 holiday festival in northern Israel despite coronavirus restrictions limiting outdoor gatherings to 500 people and long-standing warnings about the security of such meetings. The state comptroller’s office had previously issued a couple of reports in 2008 and 2011 warning that conditions at Mount Meron were dangerous.

Hundreds of people were funneled through a narrow passage that descended to the holy mountain site during the festival. A slippery slope caused people to trip and fall, precipitating a human avalanche that killed 45 people and injured at least 150.

Police have launched an investigation into the disaster but have yet to make any arrests.

The government said the commission would investigate the officials “who made the decisions that led to the approval of the event and determine the framework that was approved and its terms.”

Powerful ultra-Orthodox politicians reportedly lobbied Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials to lift restrictions on attending the religious festival.

Experts had long warned that the Mount Meron complex was not adequately equipped to handle the huge crowds that flock there during spring break, and that the existing infrastructure was a security risk.

Netanyahu’s political allies, including ultra-Orthodox lawmakers, withdrew from a Knesset committee hearing that discussed forming an investigation last month. The families of the disaster victims, mostly ultra-Orthodox, had asked Netanyahu to take action and form an independent state commission to investigate the incident.

Bennett said at the beginning of the first cabinet meeting of his newly formed government that “the responsibility is on our shoulders to learn the lessons to prevent the coming disaster.”

“The commission cannot bring back those who died, but the government can do everything possible to avoid unnecessary loss in the future,” he said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, one of the ministers who advanced the motion to launch the commission, said in a statement: “We must ensure that a tragedy of this nature is never repeated. The purpose of the task force is, above all else, to save human lives. ”

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Belgium: the body of a far-right fugitive soldier apparently found

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PARIS (AP) – Belgian police said the body of a far-right fugitive soldier who was the subject of massive persecution was found on Sunday.

Hundreds of security forces scoured a swath of northeastern Belgium after the May 17 disappearance of Jurgen Conings, who was on a counterterrorism watch list, had threatened a top virologist involved in the country’s COVID-19 program and he had accumulated heavy weaponry.

A body was found Sunday by people walking through the woods near the town of Dilsen-Stockem. Initial evidence indicates that it is Conings and that he committed suicide, but further examinations are underway, Belgian federal police said in a statement.

Conings, 46, had hidden anti-tank missile launchers and other heavy weapons in an army barracks before disappearing. He had threatened several people in recent months, including the virologist, and made it onto the federal counter-terrorism watch list in February.

Conings had a three-decade career under his belt as a skilled marksman before he began making threats and racist comments on Facebook. Disciplinary sanctions were imposed on him, but he was still allowed to work with weapons.

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New leaders, new era: US-Israel relations reach a crossroads

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Their countries at a crossroads, the new leaders of the United States and Israel have inherited a relationship that is both threatened by increasingly partisan internal political considerations and deeply tied to history and a deep-rooted recognition that they are they need each other.

How President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Managing that relationship will shape the prospects for peace and stability in the Middle East.

They are ushering in an era that is no longer defined by the powerful personality of Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu, who repeatedly challenged the Obama administration and then reaped the rewards of a warm relationship with President Donald Trump.

The Bennett administration says it wants to repair relations with Democrats and restore bipartisan support in the United States for Israel. Biden, meanwhile, is pursuing a more balanced approach to the Palestinian conflict other Iran.

The relationship is essential for both countries. Israel has long viewed the United States as its closest ally and guarantor of its security and international standing, while the United States relies on Israel’s military and intelligence prowess in a turbulent Middle East.

But both Biden and Bennett are also constrained by domestic politics.

Bennett leads an uncertain coalition of eight parties from across Israel’s political spectrum whose main convergence point was removing Netanyahu from power after 12 years. Biden is struggling to close the gap in his party, where almost uniform support for Israel has eroded and a progressive wing wants the United States to do more to end Israel’s half-century occupation of land than the Palestinians. they want for a future state.

Shortly after taking office, the new Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid recognized the challenges facing Israel in Washington.

“We find a White House, a Senate and a House Democrats and they are angry,” Lapid said upon taking over the Israeli Foreign Ministry a week ago. “We need to change the way we work with them.”

A key test will be in Iran. Biden has tried to revert to the Iran nuclear deal that President Barack Obama saw as a signature foreign policy achievement. Trump withdrew from the pact to the applause of pro-Israel and pro-Israel US lawmakers. Although Iran has yet to accept Biden’s offer for direct negotiations, indirect discussions on the nuclear deal are now in a sixth round in Vienna.

The new Israeli government remains staunchly opposed to Biden’s efforts to resuscitate the agreement. But he maintains that he will discuss the issue behind closed doors rather than stage public confrontations, such as Netanyahu’s controversial speech in which he criticized the agreement before the US Congress in 2015.

In a conversation with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, Lapid said the two agreed on a policy of “no surprises” and keeping the lines of communication open.

Eytan Gilboa, an expert on US-Israel relations at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, says that instead of trying to thwart any deal with Iran, the new government will pressure the US administration to maintain some sanctions against Iran and seek a “strategic trade-off”. “For Israel as part of any return to the deal.

Resolving differences over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be another major challenge for the two leaders.

Biden has already moved to reverse Trump’s Netanyahu-backed policies that alienated Palestinians and caused a near-total breakdown in official US-Palestinian contacts. Almost immediately after taking office, Biden restored US assistance to the Palestinians cut by Trump, which in just four months totals more than $ 300 million. He announced his administration’s intention to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem, closed by Trump, which handled relations with the Palestinians. And administration officials have spoken of the imperative that Israelis and Palestinians enjoy the same security and prosperity measures.

However, neither Biden nor Blinken have signaled any moves to alter Trump’s most important pro-Israel steps. These include its abandonment of the long-standing US policy that settlements are illegitimate under international law, its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and its recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory seized from Syria in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. The administration also hopes to expand the Arab-Israeli normalization agreements that the Trump administration forged in his final months in office.

In a call on Bennett’s first day in office, Biden affirmed his “strong support for the US-Israel relationship” and “unwavering commitment to the security of Israel.” He vowed to work together on all security matters, including Iran.

Biden’s support for Israel’s heavy airstrikes during last month’s war with militant Hamas rulers in Gaza, which fired thousands of rockets at Israel, angered progressive Democrats in Congress. With a new strength in the numbers, they are demanding that the administration do more to support the Palestinians and that conditions be set for the enormous amount of military aid that the United States provides to Israel.

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While well-established Democratic lawmakers continue to tirelessly support Israel and its absolute right to defend itself, the growing number of progressive voices in their group have made the issue a hot political potato. The change in the government of Israel is unlikely to ease their calls to action as Israeli-Palestinian violence has continued In recent days.

However, the Biden administration has already urged the new Israeli government to ease tensions with the Palestinians. In two phone conversations with Lapid over the past week, Blinken has spoken of “the need to improve Israeli-Palestinian relations in practical ways” and vowed to deepen Israeli-Arab ties.

It is unclear if the new government will respond.

Centrist members like Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz clearly want to take a more cooperative approach with the Biden administration, while Bennett and his right-wing partners face pressure from their base to maintain Netanyahu’s hard-line approach, not just in Iran but in the conflict with the Palestinians.

The former prime minister, who is already thinking about returning to office, has called Bennett weak and inexperienced, and will likely pounce on any perceived capitulation.

The Israeli government is already faced with tough decisions, such as whether to evacuate an unauthorized settlement established last month and whether to intervene in the legal process through which settler organizations are trying to evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in the east of Jerusalem.

The Biden administration is pressing Israel to refrain from taking unilateral measures, such as settlement expansion or evictions, that could hamper the eventual revival of the peace process, which has been moribund for more than a decade. But Washington has yet to issue public condemnations of the settlement activity beyond blanket calls for both sides to refrain from taking unilateral measures that could inflame tensions or damage prospects for an eventual peace deal.

Bennett is a staunch supporter of settlements and opposes the Palestinian state, but is also seen by many as a pragmatist. He may be able to turn his weakness into a strength, arguing that any major concessions, to the Palestinians or the settlers, risk toppling the government and returning Netanyahu to power.

“The forces that brought this coalition to power are strong enough in my judgment to sustain pressure from the right and probably also US pressure to make a major policy shift toward the Palestinians,” Gilboa said.

___

Krauss reported from Jerusalem.

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Israel arrests Arab suspects in murder of Jewish man

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JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli police said Sunday they arrested eight Arabs suspected of killing an Israeli Jew during a wave of ethnic violence last month.

Yigal Yehoshua, 56, died after being stoned during clashes between Arabs and Jews in the mixed city of Lod.

Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in Jerusalem clashed every night during the holy month of Ramadan in April and May over restrictions on public gatherings and attempts by settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families. The clashes spread to a holy site in Jerusalem, sparking mob violence in Israel’s mixed cities and an 11-day war in Gaza.

In Lod and other mixed citiesGroups of Jews and Arabs fought each other and rampaged through neighborhoods, setting cars and shops ablaze, and attacking anyone on the other side who crossed their path.

Israel’s Shin Bet police and security agency said six Arab residents of Lod and two Palestinians from the West Bank were arrested on suspicion of throwing stones at Yehoshua’s car. He died of his injuries several days later, on May 17, and his kidney was donated to an Arab woman.

Israeli prosecutors plan to charge seven of the murder suspects.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett congratulated the security forces. “Every enemy and terrorist who tries to harm us must know: the state of Israel will lay its hands on all evildoers sooner or later and bring them to justice,” he said in a statement.

Arab citizens of Israel make up about 20% of the population. They have citizenship and the right to vote but face widespread discrimination. They have close family ties to the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza and strongly identify with their cause, leading many Israeli Jews to view them with suspicion.

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Afghan Sons of Norway | Close up

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A Norwegian mother creates a home for frightened Afghan children who arrive alone seeking safety.

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Israel orders investigation into deadly Mount Meron stampede | Middle East News

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The April stampede killed 45 people at a Jewish pilgrimage site long considered dangerous by authorities.

Israel’s new government approved an official investigation into a stampede in April that killed 45 people and injured dozens at a Jewish pilgrimage site long considered dangerously crowded by authorities.

Although it was the worst civil disaster in the country, a large-scale investigation into the Mount Meron deaths lagged behind under the previous government amid a dispute between its ultra-Orthodox Jews and opposition politicians.

“The responsibility to learn the lessons and prevent the next disaster is on our shoulders,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at his first cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“A commission cannot bring back those who have passed away, but the government can do everything possible to avoid unnecessary loss of life in the future.”

A cabinet statement said the investigation’s findings would help safeguard other mass attendance events in Israel, which has sites sacred to Islam and Christianity, as well as Judaism.

Authorities deemed the Mount Meron site dangerous years ago. [File: Reuters]

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews flocked to the Galilean hillside tomb of 2nd century wise Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai on April 30 for the annual Lag B’Omer festival that includes all-night prayer, mystical songs and dancing .

This year’s figures were lower than in previous years, but still beyond those allowed by COVID-19 sidewalks.

Some Israelis questioned whether Benjamin Netanyahu’s previous government and the police were reluctant to further limit the size of the crowd due to pressure from influential ultra-Orthodox leaders.

During the ceremony, part of the crowd entered a narrow tunnel and the 45 men and boys were suffocated or trampled.

Police are already conducting an investigation and Israel’s government watchdog, which years ago deemed the Mount Meron site dangerous, has announced its own investigation, although it cannot press criminal charges.

Netanyahu had promised a thorough investigation, but his cabinet, which included ultra-Orthodox Jewish ministers, never took formal action and major hostilities between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza erupted less than two weeks later.

Bennett is a religious observer, but his broad coalition does not include ultra-Orthodox parties. In his cabinet statements, he said that Meron attracts Jews “from all walks of life,” an allusion to denominations other than the ultra-Orthodox.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who pushed for the investigation to be carried out, said its findings would carry “heavy weight” and could not be ignored.

The commission of inquiry, headed by a judge, will have a budget of 6 million shekels ($ 1.8 million), the government said.

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Jordan’s unprecedented palace drama moves to the courtroom

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AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Jordan’s version of a century-old trial begins this week when a relative of King Abdullah II and a former head of the royal court are brought into the defendants’ cage at the state security court. to face charges. of sedition and incitement.

They are accused of conspiring with a member of the greater royalty, Prince Hamzah, the king’s half-brother, to foment riots against the monarch while requesting foreign aid.

The palace drama broke out in the open air in early April, when Hamzah was placed under house arrest. Since then, he has broken taboos in Jordan and sparked nervousness in foreign capitals, with Western powers backing Abdullah, an indispensable ally in an unstable region.

The case exposed rivalries in Jordan’s traditionally low-key Hashemite dynasty and generated unprecedented public criticism against the monarch. The defendants are the top figures in the establishment who appeared before the security court, which generally goes after drug offenders or suspected militants.

“As far as I know, there has not been such a big case in Jordan’s history,” said defense attorney Ala Khasawneh. He said the trial could start on Monday.

Hamzah, 41, is the central figure, although he does not face charges. In conflicting narratives, he is a defender of ordinary Jordanians suffering from economic mismanagement and corruption, or a disgruntled royal who never forgave Abdullah for stripping him of his crown prince title in 2004 in favor of the king’s eldest son.

The indictment, leaked to state-linked media, alleges that Hamzah “was determined to achieve his personal ambition” to become king. It says the prince and the defendants, Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a royal, and Bassem Awadallah, a former royal adviser, conspired to generate discontent.

Security agencies began monitoring them in mid-March, at a time of public uproar over an oxygen cut at a hospital in Salt City that killed eight coronavirus patients.

Hamzah met with grieving families shortly after the king visited Salt. The indictment alleged that the prince “took advantage” of the families’ pain to spread a populist message.

Hamzah’s popularity stems from the ties he has forged with the tribes of Jordan, the base of the Hashemite government. Atef Majali, a tribal leader in the city of Karak, said that he and other sheikhs have met with the prince more than a dozen times over the years, but denied that the king has been criticized for these events.

The indictment alleged that Hamzah and the two defendants were working on the social media messages that the prince was going to post, with the aim of “inciting some groups in society against the ruling system and state agencies.”

Hamzah has denied the sedition allegations, saying he is being punished for exposing corruption and mismanagement.

On April 3, the day he was placed under house arrest, more than a dozen tribal and public figures were arrested, including his top aide. Only Awadallah and bin Zaid remain in detention.

The prince has no legal problems, and the king says the matter is being resolved by the family and that his half brother remains in his care. The royal court has declined to comment when asked if Hamzah can leave his Amman palace or communicate with others. Atef Majali said that Hamzah’s staff were not allowed to return to work.

Khasawneh, who represents bin Zaid, a distant cousin of the king, said his client is “in shock” and plans to plead not guilty. In addition to sedition and incitement, Bin Zaid is also charged with possession of narcotics after two pieces of hashish were allegedly found in his home.

The lawyer said he plans to call Hamzah to the stand, potentially amplifying the sensational nature of the trial. It is unclear whether the palace, eager to quell the crisis, would allow the prince to make his case on such a public stage.

Khasawneh said his client plans to fight the charges and dismissed questions about a possible plea deal. During the trials in the security courts, the defendants stood in a cage in the courtroom. Awadallah and bin Zaid are also expected to be confined in the cage, wearing the detainees’ blue uniforms, said former head of the state security court Mohammad al-Afeef, who represents Awadallah. The defendants, who are being held in an intelligence compound in Amman, face up to 20 years in prison.

In the days leading up to the trial, a broader narrative has emerged, although it is only mentioned in the indictment.

In this version, the alleged conspirators sought foreign help to exploit the king’s perceived vulnerability at a time when he was under pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia to agree to a Middle East plan of the now-defunct Trump administration often referred to as the deal of the century. Jordan has expressed concern that the plan will weaken the monarch’s historic role as guardian of the Al Aqsa Mosque, an important shrine in disputed Jerusalem and a pillar of Hashemite claims of legitimacy.

Accusations of overseas disclosure center on Awadallah, who has Jordanian, American and Saudi citizenship, once served as the king’s official envoy to Saudi Arabia and has close ties to Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. .

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In Jordan, Awadallah has been widely accused of economic policies that are seen to primarily benefit the wealthy and has been prosecuted on suspicions of corruption. In Riyadh, he had been visibly involved in efforts to attract foreign investment.

The indictment alleges that Hamzah and bin Zaid invited Awadallah to join them because of his ties to abroad. At one point, Hamzah allegedly asked Awadallah: “If something happened to me in Jordan, will Saudi officials help me or not?”

Saudi Arabia, a major financial backer of Jordan, immediately sent its foreign minister to the kingdom after the crisis broke out, publicly reaffirming its support for the king.

Mohammed Momani, a member of the Jordanian Senate and former Minister of Information, argued that there was a link between the alleged sedition plot and regional politics.

“When he sees that Jordan is under pressure from his main allies because of the Deal of the Century, then he probably saw this as an opening or as a possibility or opportunity to request some support from the outside world,” alleged Momani, who said he was briefed on the investigation.

Momani alleged that bin Zaid had approached a foreign embassy, ​​”trying to ask them for their reaction” if the alleged conspirators implemented their plan. He did not identify the embassy.

Jordanian officials have said the alleged plot was discovered in time, but posed a threat to stability.

Critics said claims of a threat appear exaggerated, noting that any plot would have required the backing of security forces.

“I can’t find any evidence that leads to this kind of trial,” said political analyst Amer Sabaileh. He and Momani are among 92 members of a political reform committee formed by the king to deal with the crisis.

Sabaileh said the saga may have caused lasting damage.

“It has opened the door for the Hashemites for ordinary people to look inward, and I think this is not good regardless of how it happened,” he said. “It is better for this family to be together and not show that there is this kind of competition or sense of revenge.”

___

Associated Press writers Omar Akour in Amman and Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed.

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