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Kuwait withdraws citizenship from opposition members

July 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm

The Kuwaiti Cabinet decided yesterday to withdraw the Kuwaiti citizenship from two pro-opposition members and their families and to close several associations belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, the Anadolu news agency reported.

The cabinet revoked the citizenship of Ahmed Jaber Kadhim Al-Shammari, owner of Al-Youm satellite channel and Al-Alam Al-Yaoum newspaper for reasons of “public interest” and that of former opposition MP Abdullah Al-Barghash claiming he acquired the citizenship “through fraud”.

The government threatened last week that it will take all necessary procedures against those suspected of trying to “destabilise” the country in the wake of protests which erupted last month demanding the release of opposition leader, former MP Musallam Al-Barrak who was arrested on charges of insulting the judiciary.

Al-Barrak was released on July 7.

Observers said the measures target naturalised Kuwaitis who have joined the opposition.

The Kuwait News Agency said the cabinet decided, during its weekly meeting yesterday, to withdraw the Kuwaiti nationality from Ahmed Jaber Kadhim Al-Shammari and his family based on Article 13 of the 1959 Kuwaiti Nationality Law No. 15.

The article provides that, upon the Interior Ministry’s request, the Kuwaiti nationality can be revoked “if the competent authorities received sufficient evidence of involvement in actions that could undermine the state’s economic or social system or belonging to a foreign political body.”

The government said the Kuwaiti nationality was revoked from Abdullah Ayed Al-Barghash and his brothers; Saad and Nasser and Nora according to the Nationality Law which stipulates that “the Kuwaiti citizenship is revoked if found to be obtained unlawfully on the basis of fraud or false statements or inaccurate certificates. However the government did not explain the actions that lead Al-Barghash to lose his citizenship.

The cabinet’s decision was based on report submitted by Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammed Khaled Al-Sabah.

The government said last week that it will act with an “iron fist” to defend the state’s prestige and commissioned the Interior Ministry to take all necessary measures to ensure the stability and security.

The Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Hind Sabih Barak Sabeeh presented on Sunday, the actions taken by her Ministry against associations that seemed to have acted contrary to the Kuwaiti NGOs Law.

Sabeeh did not list the names of organisations affected by the Ministry’s actions but Kuwait’s Gazette newspaper said the cabinet decided to withdraw the licenses from six charitable associations for violating the charitable work law.

The paper pointed out three of the six organisations belong to the Social Reform Association, led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait, and three others belong to the Islamic Heritage Revival Society, run by Salafists.