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Kuwait closely monitoring cases of citizens detained in US
October 4, 2016, 5:32 pm

Kuwait’s foreign ministry is monitoring the cases of all Kuwaiti citizens being held in the US and is dealing with each case separately, diplomatic sources said.

The sources said the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington assigned lawyers whenever a case warranted it to ensure that justice is fully served. Diplomats are also sent to monitor the case more closely as the embassy coordinates with the detainees’ families to help ensure their release, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported on Tuesday.

“The embassy in Washington and the consulate in Los Angeles are closely following the situation of all Kuwaiti citizens in the US, be they students, visitors or patients receiving treatment, and not just those who were detained because of a problem with the customs officers,” the sources said. “We are in regular contacts with the US authorities to ensure the situation is smooth for all Kuwaiti nationals.”

The sources added that the embassy had weeks ago warned Kuwaiti citizens planning to visit the US to check their mobile phones and computers and ensure they did not store any pictures or clips related to the zones of conflict, terrorism, violence or inappropriate acts.

The purpose was to help Kuwaitis avoid being questioned by US officers at airports and facing the possibility of having their visas cancelled and therefore repatriated, the sources added.

Al Rai on Monday reported that the number of Kuwaiti citizens being held in the US has increased despite repeated warnings issued by the authorities in both countries.

Most of those who were arrested were students while others were tourists who committed offences due to ignorance of the rules that differ from state to state. Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported on Monday that 24 Kuwaitis were being held in the US after airport officers charged they were storing illegal material on their mobile phones and laptops.

One student, aged 19, has been held for over one month in New York after the authorities discovered on his mobile “immoral” pictures of people who were less than 18 years old.

“We are shocked that a young Kuwaiti is being held for more than one month for having on his mobile pictures that the authorities in a US state deemed as pornographic, even though other states would not consider them immoral,” a source told the daily. “We cannot have the future of a young man depend on the mood of a customs officer.”

According to the source, the high number of Kuwaitis who this year chose to spend their vacations in Europe over the US is attributed to “the extreme measures that were closer in their nature to racism than to maintain security.”

“No such issues were recorded when customs or police officers dealt with Kuwaitis at the airports in Europe where security measures are equally strong,” the source said.

The US embassy in Kuwait said the number of Kuwaitis who have travelled to the US since the beginning of the year was more than 75,000. Visitors to the US, whether arriving from Kuwait or any other country, assume the responsibility of the personal items they are carrying and must ensure they fully comply with the US regulations, the embassy said.

All international travellers are subject to inspections that include laptops, CDs, mobiles, cameras, music instruments and all electronic and digital devises.

According to the embassy, protecting the security of the US and applying the laws in the electronic age depend on the ability of the officers on inspecting all items carried into the US.

Source: Gulf News

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