A Kuwaiti opposition group said Thursday the revoking of citizenship of government opponents and licences of media outlets is “unconstitutional” and described it as an act of “political vengeance”.
“These are purely acts of political vengeance which are not based on the constitution, the basics of the law and the norms of the society,” said a statement issued by a group of former opposition parliamentarians.
The government on Monday revoked the citizenship of former opposition MP Abdullah Al Barghash, his two brothers and a sister and their family members. It also stripped Ahmad Jabr Al Shemmari, the owner of pro-opposition Al Youm satellite channel and Alam Al Youm newspaper, of his citizenship.
A day later, the information ministry revoked the licences of the two media outlets which have provided extensive coverage of opposition news in the past two years.
“These represent a new flagrant violation of citizens’ rights ... and a serious breach of international human rights treaties,” the statement said.
The group charged that the main aim of the “repressive measures is an attempt by the government and [loyal] parliament to cover up corruption cases which have increased recently”, citing the allegations of a major corruption scandal involving former senior officials.
The Gulf state’s public prosecutor is investigating allegations that the former senior officials have stolen tens of billions of dollars of public funds, were engaged in money-laundering and transferred about $50 billion to foreign banks, including a bank in Israel.
The government, however, said the actions were taken following violent protests by activists after the arrest earlier this month of prominent opposition leader Musallam Al Barrak.
The newly-established Public Authority for Combating Corruption said on Thursday it had launched an investigation into the corruption allegations.
A statement carried by the official Kuna news agency said a specialist team formed by the Authority has started contacts with British and Swiss authorities to seek legal assistance concerning the case.
The opposition, however, has repeatedly called for an independent international probe into the case.
Since mid-2006, the oil-rich Gulf state has been rocked by a series of political crises, leading to parliament being dissolved six times.
Most opposition groups are not represented in Kuwait’s parliament after having boycotted July 2013 polls in protest at an amended electoral law.