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He said Barghash's citizenship was revoked under a law that forbids Kuwaitis from dual citizenship, while Jabr was targeted under a law that requires naturalized Kuwaitis to avoid committing any crime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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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