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    He said Barghash's citizenship was revoked under a law that forbids Kuwaitis from dual citizenship, while Jabr was targeted under a law that requires naturalized Kuwaitis to avoid committing any crime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

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    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.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora