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Blackout ordered on Kuwait ‘coup plot’ video
April 11, 2014, 1:13 pm

Kuwait’s attorney general Thursday ordered a news blackout on a videotape allegedly showing former senior officials plotting a coup in the Gulf emirate.

“The attorney general has ordered that the investigation in this case should be confidential and ordered a ban on the publication of any news on the case in all media,” including social networks and the Internet, attorney general Dherar Al Assoussi said, quoted by official news agency KUNA.

The ban was necessary because the issue “grossly harms national interests and national unity” as well as the investigation itself, he said.

The attorney general said his office was conducting “a probe into reports indicating the existence of a tape containing information and data implicating some people in plotting to overthrow the regime and undermine the authority of the emir.”

The ban comes a day after Kuwait’s royal court appealed for calm and urged the public “to avoid debating the issue and leave it to the public prosecution to take the necessary measures.”

It did not provide any details.

The public prosecution will inform all media about the outcome of the investigation as soon as it is over, Al Assoussi added.

The highly controversial case started in December when a tweeter posted on his account that Shaikh Ahmad Al Fahd Al Sabah, the former deputy premier for economic affairs and energy minister, had received an audiotape containing highly sensitive information about Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the former premier, and Jassem Al Khorafi, the ex-parliament Speaker.

When Al Khorafi heard about the claim, he categorically rejected the allegations made against him and the former premier, filed a case with the public prosecutor and pressed for a thorough investigation.

The tweeter was held for several days before he was released.

The prosecutor this week questioned Shaikh Ahmad for five hours to hear his version about what happened and about the alleged audiotape, which he said he handed over to the country’s leaders.

Shaikh Ahmad, a senior member of the ruling family, said after he appeared before the public prosecution investigating the alleged audiotape that he showed up as a witness and denied there was any tape.

However, he added that he did receive scattered recording on “local, parliamentary, (ruling) family, financial and regional issues” and that he dealt with them “in accordance with my patriotic duties”.

The Al Sabahs have ruled Kuwait for more than 250 years.

But since 2006, Kuwait has been rocked by a series of political disputes between the Al Sabah-controlled government and MPs.

About a dozen governments have been formed and parliament dissolved on six occasions.

After parliamentary elections last July, when pro-government candidates won a majority after an opposition boycott, Kuwait has been relatively calm.


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