Former Kuwaiti minister detained over critical column: website

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 11, 2015 12:16 PM

DUBAI (Reuters) - Kuwait has detained a former information minister for publishing a column alleging misuse of state funds in an online newspaper he supervises, its website reported on Sunday.

A court last week sentenced Saad bin Tiflah al-Ajmi, founder and consultant for the online news website www.alaan.cc, in abstentia to one week in prison.

Finance Minister Anas Saleh had filed a lawsuit over the column, published two years ago when he was minister of commerce and industry.

Alaan said Ajmi was detained at the airport on Saturday while heading to Saudi Arabia with his family. It quoted his lawyer, al-Humaidi al-Subay'i, as saying that Ajmi had not been aware of Thursday's court verdict.

Subay'i said the author of the column, Alaan publisher Zaid al-Zaid, had taken full responsibility for the article.

Kuwait allows the most dissent in the Gulf Arab region and has a lively press and critical political debate. But the U.S. ally and OPEC member has been clamping down on politically sensitive comments aired on the internet in recent months.

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Angus MacSwan)