Prosecutors said Adnan Abu Oudeh was also charged on Thursday with stirring internal strife following legal complaints by several Jordanians who deemed his comments unpatriotic.

 

The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison, lawyers said.

 

Abu Oudeh  who was a senior aide to late King Hussein during clashes between the army and Palestinian guerrillas in 1970 said those behind the complaints had misread his remarks.

 

"I am surprised because they have misread the conclusions of my comments and understood it as an accusation against the state when I am one of its pillars," Oudeh said.

 

The political empowerment of Jordanians of Palestinian origin is a sensitive issue in a country with a population of over 5.7 million, many of Palestinian origin.

 

While Palestinians have a strong influence in business and the private sector, they are widely seen as being marginalised in the public services, the army and senior government posts.

 

Many settled in Jordan after the creation of Israel in 1948 and others are refugees of successive Arab-Israeli wars.