The hunt for a renegade nephew of Kuwait’s Amir has turned up a gun disguised as a pen in his home, adding yet another layer of mystery to a bizarre case involving two other ruling family members and others. Police officers who raided the home of Sheikh Athbi Al-Fahad Al Sabah found the James Bond-style weapon, with what appeared to be a trigger in the pump of the pen, said the Interior Ministry.
The pen, found along with a Kalashnikov rifle, a handgun and ammunition, made the front page across oil-rich Kuwait yesterday, with the prominent newspaper Al-Rai calling it an “assassination device.” It’s unclear why Sheikh Athbi would own such a weapon, though he once ran Kuwait’s National Security Office, the nation’s intelligence agency. Sheikh Athbi has been on the run since May 30, when prosecutors say he, two other ruling family members and four other individuals were found guilty in a plot to publish anonymous Twitter posts sharing fabricated videos of judges receiving bribes. He received a five-year prison sentence, which can be appealed.
The videos appear to be tied to a larger ongoing political scandal involving faked videos suggesting high-ranking officials were planning a coup. Prosecutors imposed a gag order on the case, and ruling family members have apologized on state television. Kuwait’s once-assertive parliament has largely been taken over by pro-government lawmakers since Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2011. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, 86, serves as emir, and the monarchy controls all key government positions.