Jordan releases 16 people tied to royal feud

FILE PHOTO: Jordan's King Abdullah II and members of the royal family including former crown prince and half-brother Prince Hamza arrive at the Raghdan Palace for a ceremony marking 100 years of independence, in Amman, Jordan April 11, 2021. Jordanian Royal Palace/Handout via REUTERS

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Jordan released on Thursday 16 people linked to a rift in the royal family that rattled the country, but a member of the royal family and a former adviser to the king remained in detention.

Security sources said those released were mostly personal aides to former heir Prince Hamza, King Abdullah's half-brother, who had said in an April video he was banned from leaving his home and accused the country's rulers of corruption.

The two royals last week made their first joint appearance since the feud earlier this month. With mediation by the royal family, Hamza had pledged allegiance to the king, days after the military ordered him to stop actions that it said undermined Jordan's security.

Thursday's move came after calls from tribal families for the release of detainees, the sources said.

Royal family member Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid remained in detention, as did Bassem Awadallah, a confidant of the king who was finance minister and advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

State news agency Petra, citing the public prosecutor in the state security court, said they were not freed because "their roles...and level of agitation differed" from the others.

(Reporting by Ellen Francis in Beirut and Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman; Editing by Gareth Jones and Alex Richardson)

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