DUBAI—A schism in Jordan’s ruling royal family burst into the open on Saturday, with the reigning monarch’s younger brother saying he had been effectively placed under house arrest and state media reporting that senior officials had been detained as part of security investigations.
In a video broadcast on BBC, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein decried efforts to silence him and criticized the government of his brother, King Abdullah, an important U.S. ally, saying, “This country has become stymied in corruption, in nepotism and in misrule.”
The prince—who was removed as crown prince, a position that put him next in line for the throne, by King Abdullah in 2004—said a number of his friends had been arrested and that he was told not to leave his home. He said his security detail had been removed and his internet and phone lines cut.
More than 20 people have been taken into custody so far, mostly close allies of the prince, according to two senior Arab envoys based in Jordan and another person familiar with the matter. Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency quoted the head of the country’s military joint chiefs of staff as saying the people arrested were being held as part of “joint comprehensive investigations undertaken by the security forces.”
Jordanian authorities told diplomats that they were investigating a foreign-backed plot to destabilize the country, these people said. In his video, Prince Hamzah said there was no such plot.