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, quoting a source it did not name.
According to the source, 24 Kuwaitis are 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, the source said. However, the source insisted that the US punitive measures were harsh and not proportionate with the “violations.”
“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,” the source was quoted as saying. “We cannot have the future of a young man depend on the mood of a customs officer.”
Kuwait’s embassy in Washington has repeatedly urged Kuwaiti citizens to ensure their mobile phones and laptops did not have any pictures related to violence or conflicts or any form of extremism or fanaticism.
The Saudi embassy in the US issued similar warnings following the arrest of several Saudis who had pictures or clips related to conflict zones or moral issues stored on their mobile phones or laptops.
According to the source, the high number of Kuwaitis who 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. The diplomatic mission said it was aware of the cases of Kuwaitis who were not allowed to enter the US this year, adding that the US authorities were exerting all efforts to ensure they do not occur.
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