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Kuwait says ‘coup plot’ video tampered with
April 16, 2014, 9:24 am

Reports indicate ‘parts of the audio recordings [on the videotape] had been removed’

Kuwait’s prime minister told MPs Tuesday that a videotape allegedly showing former senior officials plotting a coup was “tampered with,” parliament speaker Marzouk Al Ganem said after a secret session.

Local media have said the former officials in the videotape include a senior member of the ruling family, without giving details.

Prime Minister Shaikh Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah “showed reports by specialised foreign sides affirming without doubt that the audio recordings and the videotapes which they examined had been tampered with and do not represent genuine and reliable copies,” Al Ganem said.

The reports also indicate that “parts of the audio recordings [on the videotape] had been removed,” the speaker said in a statement he read after the three-hour debate demanded by the prime minister and 15 MPs.

Ganem said the videotapes were shown to MPs during the secret session and that parts of them were unclear.

The government informed parliament that it will hand over all the tapes and related documents to the public prosecution, which is currently conducting an investigation, he said.

Parliament rejected a proposal to form an investigative panel into the videotape with a landslide majority of 50 members against seven, the speaker said.

Pro-government MP Abdul Hamid Dashti told reporters the tape is “fake,” while opposition MP Riyadh Al Adasani insisted it is real and “very serious”.

Islamist MP Hamdan Al Azemi said the issue of the videotape is a reflection of “an internal struggle between senior members of the Al Sabah ruling family.”

“The infighting is for governance and money... We cannot accept what is happening and most of the problems are orchestrated ... My message to the regime [is] the Kuwaiti people are tired and there must be a solution,” Al Azemi told reporters outside parliament.

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, and occasionally between members of the ruling family.

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

Since parliamentary elections last July, when pro-government candidates won a majority after an opposition boycott, Kuwait’s political scene has been relatively calm.

The attorney general on Thursday ordered a news blackout on the controversial videotape, saying the investigation should be confidential.

Last week, 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.”

The public prosecution questioned Shaikh Ahmad Fahad Al Sabah, a senior ruling family member and former minister, on April 7 for five hours about the tape, which he said he had handed over to Kuwait’s leaders.

Shaikh Ahmad, who quit his ministerial post in 2011 during a dispute, said he told the prosecutor the videotape deals with financial and political matters as well as the ruling family and regional issues, without providing further details.

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