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Jordan's Queen Noor says prince who feuded with king is still not free

Prince Hamzah was placed under house arrest in April after facing accusations of trying to destabilise the country
Jordan's Prince Hamzah, 41, is the son of the late King Hussein and his fourth wife, the US-born Queen Noor (AFP)

Jordan's Prince Hamzah, who was placed under house arrest by King Abdullah II earlier this year after being accused of fomenting unrest in the kingdom, is still not free, according to his mother, Queen Noor.

Hamzah, former heir to the throne, was accused in April of conspiring to destabilise the country and remove its longtime monarch.

Jordanian authorities arrested at least 16 people in relation to the plot, which exposed deep rifts within the royal family and rocked the kingdom's image as a bastion of stability and security in a volatile region.

In statements following the arrests, King Abdullah said the crisis was "the most painful" because it came partially from inside the royal family.

The monarchy has since tried to limit speculation over a wider dispute between royals, with the king saying Hamzah's case is being handled as a private matter within the Hashemite family.

Still, Hamzah has not been seen in public for months and was prevented from testifying at a trial in which his alleged accomplices were convicted of sedition and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

His mother, Queen Noor, offered a rare glimpse into the dispute on Wednesday, which seemed to indicate the spat between the royal brothers was still festering.

In a tweet marking the birthday of her granddaughter Zein, she wrote: "Inshallah, her father will be justly freed ASAP, and able to provide a natural, hopeful and uplifting and genuine Jordanian upbringing for her and all the family."

Hamzah, who is known to bear a resemblance to his father, the late King Hussein, is considered by many to be well-liked in Jordan.

While some have cast him as a disgruntled royal who never forgave his brother for replacing him as heir to the throne, for others he is a popular figure who has maintained ties with ordinary citizens.

One of the allegations against Hamzah was that he was growing too close to Jordan's East Bank tribes.

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Traditionally a bedrock of support for the monarchy, more recently they have felt marginalised as the palace cut back on public handouts that have been central to maintaining allegiance in a system heavily reliant on government patronage.

King Abdullah has also come under fire for his handling of the country's economy and growing corruption within the country. Jordan is heavily reliant on western aid, and its image was battered last month after the King's vast overseas property portfolio was exposed in the "Pandora Papers" leak. 

After claiming he had been put under house arrest, Hamzah spoke out using social media and the press, accusing Jordan's rulers of corruption and ineptitude.

Those comments, stemming from a palace insider, struck a chord with many ordinary citizens who have been unable to critique their government, as space for public dissent inside the country shrinks.

This year the US advocacy group Freedom House downgraded Jordan from "partly free" to "not free".