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Kuwait revokes citizenship of 2 opposition figures

Kuwait, July 22, 2014

The Kuwaiti government has revoked the citizenship of two opposition figures and some of their relatives, the state news agency reported, in a move that could deepen a political crisis in the country.

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

State news agency Kuna said the cabinet agreed at a meeting late on Monday to impose the measures on Ahmed Al-Jabr and 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 health, education and housing. But they do not face an imminent expulsion.

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He said Barghash's citizenship was revoked under a law that forbids Kuwaitis from dual citizenship, while Al-Jabr was targeted under a law that requires naturalised Kuwaitis to avoid committing any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

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

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. - Reuters




Tags: | Kuwait | citizenship |

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