Jordan security forces arrests former top palace aide and a member of royal family in security clampdown

U.S.-educated Bassem Awadallah, a long-time confidant of the king who later became minister of finance, and Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid, a member of the royal family were detained along with other unnamed figures, the Petra state news agency said.

Jordanian security forces arrested a former adviser to King Abdullah, a member of the royal family and others on “security related” grounds, the Petra state news agency said.

U.S.-educated Bassem Awadallah, a long-time confidant of the king who later became minister of finance, and Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid, a member of the royal family were detained along with other unnamed figures, Petra said. It gave no details.

Arrests of top officials and royal family members are rare in Jordan.

Awadallah, who was a driving force behind economic reforms before he resigned as chief of the royal court in 2008, has long faced stiff resistance from an old guard and an entrenched bureaucracy that flourished for years on government perks.

Jordan’s powerful intelligence agency, with a pervasive influence in public life, has played a bigger public role since the introduction of emergency laws at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic last year, which civic groups say violate civil and political rights.

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