News / Middle East

Kuwait Strips Citizenship of Opposition Figures, Relatives

FILE - Abdullah al-Barghash, second from left, returns to parliamentary session after walking out in protest of two female cabinet members that were not dressed according to strict Islamic codes, Kuwait, June 1, 2008.
FILE - Abdullah al-Barghash, second from left, returns to parliamentary session after walking out in protest of two female cabinet members that were not dressed according to strict Islamic codes, Kuwait, June 1, 2008.
Reuters

Kuwait's government has revoked the citizenship of two opposition figures and some family members and shut two media outlets, the state news agency KUNA reported, in moves that could deepen a political crisis in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state.

The move comes after the cabinet adopted what it called an “iron fist policy” last week following protests over the arrest of a prominent opposition politician, in which the cabinet threatened to remove the citizenship of people suspected of trying to “undermine the stability” of the state.

KUNA said the cabinet agreed at a meeting late on Monday to impose the measures on Ahmed al-Jabr as well as on Abdullah Barghash, his two brothers and his sister, on the recommendations of the interior minister.

The decision will make them lose some of the state benefits that citizens enjoy, including public healthcare, education and housing. But they do not face imminent expulsion.

Jabr, chairman of the al-Youm, an opposition TV channel, and Barghash, a former parliament member, could not immediately be reached for a comment.

However, pro-democracy activist Nasser al-Abdaly told Reuters the government was relying on rarely used laws to target “some of those who oppose the policies of the government.”

He said Barghash's citizenship was revoked under a law that forbids Kuwaitis from dual citizenship, while Jabr was targeted under a law that requires naturalized Kuwaitis to avoid committing any crime for 20 years.

He said authorities had accused Jabr of working against Kuwait's security and stability.

Newspaper, TV channel closed

Kuwait's Information Ministry, in a subsequent move on Tuesday night, canceled the licenses of a local newspaper and a television channel “because they did not fully honor one of the conditions in the licenses,” Muneera Al-Huwaidi, assistant undersecretary for Press and Publications, told KUNA on Tuesday, giving no further details.

KUNA did not identify the newspaper or the TV channel, but Abdelhamid al-Da'as, the editor-in-chief of Alam al-Youm newspaper and a member of the board of al-Youm television channel, said the decision was related to the two media outlets.

“A letter arrived from the Ministry of Information revoking the license of the newspaper and the channel,” al-Da'as told Reuters, adding that they have complied with the decision.

Kuwait, enduring a long feud between the elected parliament and the appointed government in which ruling family members hold some top posts, has been unsettled by an investigation into an alleged plot to overthrow the ruling system.

The cabinet also ordered the closure of branches of local non-governmental public welfare associations for “violating the rules set out by law for the activities of public welfare for which they were licensed.”

It did not name them, but local activists said the main target was an association linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, accused of involvement in politics in violation of Kuwaiti law.

But in an apparently conciliatory gesture, KUNA said that the country's ruler received the head of the Islamist Eslah association at the Emiri court and invited him to patronize the society's 50th anniversary celebration.

Kuwait allows more political freedom than other Gulf Arab states. It has a lively press and an elected parliament, but has banned public gatherings of more than 20 people without a permit.

Police used smoke bombs to disperse hundreds of people who tried to march earlier this month from the Grand Mosque to the main court complex to demand the release of Musallam al-Barrak, the opposition politician who had been detained for questioning on suspicion of insulting the judiciary.

Kuwait has suffered bouts of political crisis in recent years amid disputes over election procedures and accusations of corruption and mismanagement by former parliament members and opposition politicians against senior government members and loyalists, including members of the ruling family.

The OPEC member, a close U.S. ally with more than 6 percent of the world's oil reserves, has been alarmed by the takeover of large areas of Iraq by Islamist insurgents and other forces.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid