AMMAN, Jordan—A Jordanian court convicted Monday two men for sedition over an alleged plot to replace King Abdullah II with former Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, following a public rift between the two royals that shook the image of the critical U.S. ally as an island of stability in the Middle East.
Former royal court chief Bassem Awadallah, who holds Jordanian and American citizenships, and royal Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a distant cousin of the king, were sentenced to 15 years in prison for undermining the country’s security and stability, state media said.
Both men had pleaded not guilty, and an appeal is expected.
The rift between King Abdullah and his half-brother Prince Hamzah burst into the open in April and upended politics in the kingdom. The government has said the king’s half-brother had plotted with others to undermine stability by fanning discontent in an effort to rise to power.
Prince Hamzah has denied wrongdoing. He wasn’t on trial, following family mediation in which he expressed support for the king. The court refused a request by the defense for him to testify.