Last updated: 10 April, 2014

Blackout ordered on Kuwait “coup plot” video

Kuwait’s attorney general Thursday ordered a news blackout on a videotape allegedly showing former senior officials plotting a coup in the oil-rich Gulf emirate.

“The attorney general has ordered that the investigation in this case should be confidential and ordered a ban on the publication of any news on the case in all media,” including social networks and the Internet, attorney general Dherar al-Assoussi said, quoted by official news agency KUNA.

The ban was necessary because the issue “grossly harms national interests and national unity” as well as the investigation itself, he said.

The attorney general said his office was conducting “a probe into reports indicating the existence of a tape containing information and data implicating some people in plotting to overthrow the regime and undermine the authority of the emir.”

The ban comes a day after Kuwait’s royal court appealed for calm and urged the public “to avoid debating the issue and leave it to the public prosecution to take the necessary measures.”

It did not provide any details.

The public prosecution questioned Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Sabah, a senior ruling family member and former minister, on Monday for five hours about the tape, which he said he had handed over to Kuwait’s leaders.

Sheikh Ahmad said he told the prosecutor he had a videotape dealing with financial and political matters as well as the ruling family and regional issues.

The Al-Sabahs have ruled Kuwait for more than 250 years.

But since 2006, Kuwait has been rocked by a series of political disputes between the Sabah-controlled government and MPs.

About a dozen governments have been formed and parliament dissolved on six occasions.

After parliamentary elections last July, when pro-government candidates won a majority after an opposition boycott, Kuwait has been relatively calm.