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Archive for Kuwait

Newsline: Kuwait removed diplomat from New Zealand following alleged assault

Kuwait withdrew one of its diplomats from New Zealand following an allegation of assault. The envoy was removed after the Middle Eastern country declined to waive diplomatic immunity. The police said they were called to a central Wellington address in the early morning. “This involved an allegation of assault by a diplomat from the Embassy of the State of Kuwait.”



Newsline: Iran Says Ambassador to Remain in Kuwait Despite Row

Iran on Monday denied reports that Kuwait had expelled its ambassador, saying it would maintain a dialogue with the Gulf Arab state after a diplomatic row over Tehran’s alleged links to a “spy and terror” cell. Iranian and Kuwaiti media reported on Thursday that Kuwait had ordered the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and 14 other diplomats, worsening an unusual public dispute between the two countries. “The ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to be present in Kuwait and the embassy will be active at the ambassadorial level, and there is no problem in this regard,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency. Kuwait also told Iran’s cultural and military missions to shut down, following a court case that increased tensions between the Gulf Arab state and Tehran. Iran responded to the expulsions by filing a complaint with the Kuwaiti charge d’affaires. The expulsions were a rare move for Kuwait, which avoids conflict and has worked at keeping good relations with nearby countries and whose ruling emir is a regional diplomatic broker. Saudi Arabia, which severed ties with Tehran last year over attacks by Iranian demonstrators on its missions in the Islamic Republic, welcomed the move.


Newsline: Kuwait tells Iranian embassy to cut staff after spy case

Kuwait has ordered Iran to reduce its embassy staff and close down its technical offices in the Gulf Arab state following a court case which implicated “Iranian parties” of involvement in a spy cell, state news agency KUNA said on Thursday. Last year Kuwait convicted 23 men – one Iranian and the rest Kuwaiti – of spying for Iran and Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah after a cache of guns and explosives were discovered in a raid of the so-called “Abdali cell” in 2015. In a case which stoked unusually severe tensions between the two OPEC members, Kuwait’s highest court changed some of the sentences last month. Iranian state television said Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry summoned Tehran’s ambassador and ordered the number of diplomats to be cut from 19 to four and the closure of the cultural and military missions.



Newsline: Turkish court rejects prosecutor request for arrest of Kuwaiti Embassy driver

An Ankara court on Tuesday dismissed a request filed for the cancelation of the release of a Kuwaiti Embassy driver who, with a group of Kuwaiti diplomats, beat up a Turkish pilot last week. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to a decision by the Ankara 4th Criminal Court of Peace to release Salahaddin A., a driver for the Kuwaiti Embassy, who removed Lt. Col. Hakan Karakuş from his car and, along with Kuwaiti diplomats, beat him up. The chief prosecutor’s office also demanded the arrest of the embassy driver. The lawyer for the driver requested that his client be kept under police monitoring. Both requests were reportedly rejected by an Ankara court. According to reports circulating in the Turkish media, a number of Kuwaiti diplomats who were traveling in a vehicle with diplomatic plates got out of the car in the middle of traffic and removed Lt. Col. Hakan Karakuş, an F-16 pilot working with NATO, from his car and beat him up in front of his wife in Ankara last week. Kuwaiti Ambassador to Turkey Abdullah Abdulaziz al-Duwaikh threatened Ankara, saying that deporting Almohaid prior to a court ruling would negatively affect Kuwaiti’s investments in Turkey.



Newsline: Kuwait denies embassy staff attacked Turkish pilot

Kuwait has denied claims that embassy staff beat a Turkish air force pilot in a road rage incident in Ankara. The country’s ambassador to Turkey, Abdullah Al-Duwaikh, denied allegations that Major Hakan Karakus was attacked in front of his wife and baby. The pilot, who had recently returned to Ankara from a NATO exercise, claimed he was taking his six-day-old infant to hospital to be vaccinated on Thursday when he was nearly involved in an accident with a Kuwaiti diplomat’s car in an upmarket district of the capital. Four men got out of the Kuwaiti car and allegedly attacked him. It is said that passersby had to intervene to prevent the officer, who was treated in hospital for his injuries, being more seriously hurt. “It is opposite of what you heard,” said Al-Duwaikh. “There were not four guys in the car, there were just our diplomat and his driver.” Al-Duwaikh claimed the diplomat was going to the bank when Major Karakus blocked his car’s path. “The bank’s security camera, security personnel and workers there are witnesses,” the ambassador said. “He kicked the diplomat’s car, there are pictures, so security told our diplomat not to leave the bank.” Al-Duwaikh also said the accused diplomat did not touch Major Karakus, accusing the flyer of involvement in blackmail. Turkish media reported that the pilot had filed a criminal complaint.



Newsline: Syria closes its embassies in Riyadh, Kuwait and Washington

Damascus has closed its embassies in Riyadh, Kuwait and Washington in an unexpected move not said to have any political dimensions, Syrian diplomatic sources said. The decision was attributed to the harassment experienced by Syrian diplomatic missions in those countries, especially when it comes to the issues of renewal of residency permits, moving within these countries, granting entry visas for new diplomats, or abusing Syrian diplomats during their entry and exit from those countries. The sources pointed out that what happened cannot be called closure of embassies, despite being empty of their employees, but could rather be seen as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs calling back its diplomats to return to their country without appointing any replacements. Most of the countries that are hostile to the Syrian government want to close their embassies, but were confronted with the status quo whereby the Syrian state retains its international legitimacy and makes it impossible for them to do so, being the only body authorised to issue passports and official documents for its nationals. The official website of the Syrian Embassy in Saudi Arabia published an announcement, on its homepage, directed to the nationals of the Syrian Arab Republic residing in Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities closed the Saudi embassy in Damascus in March 2012. The Syrian embassy in Washington has apologised for not being able to receive any new requests for extending and renewing passports of those residing in the United States and Canada for technical reasons.



Newsline: Philippine embassy official, staff in Kuwait face trafficking charges

Human trafficking charges should be filed against an official and several personnel of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, a government panel recommended in a report. The Kuwait Anti-Trafficking Task Force, created last September, identified the erring government official as Ibrahim Daligdig Tanandato, assistant to the Nationals Unit head at the Consular Office of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. Tanandato violated the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 as well as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, the task force said. The anti-trafficking group also recommended charges filed against Muamar Mamosion and Omar Khalil, who were hired by the embassy as Arabic translators, and lawyers Khaled Almas and Ayied Al-Subaie who were hired to represent the embassy. The complainants said a government official hired them to work as domestic helpers—with a monthly salary of 50 Kuwaiti dinars or around P7,900—without proper documentation from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. The government official then supposedly “took advantage of one of the victims by deceiving her that her back wages have not been paid yet by her previous lawyers.” The task force said the suspects, including the embassy-hired lawyers and translators, demanded money from the complainants as attorney’s fees. Two of the complainants narrated they were also recruited to handle bomb-sniffing dogs with salaries from P30,000 to P35,000. One of the complainants allegedly paid one of the suspects P10,000 as a training fee, and an Immigration officer an additional P23,000. When they arrived in Kuwait, the victims were made to sign a document stating their salary was only 110 Kuwaiti dinars or around P17,500.