x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Kuwaiti royal 'held over political views'

Sheikh Meshaal had used Twitter to call for political reform.

KUWAIT CITY // A member of Kuwait's ruling family has been arrested for expressing political views deemed offensive.

"Freedom for Sheikh Meshaal Al Malek Al Sabah who was arrested by the state security police," the Gulf forum for civil societies, an organisation of liberal activists, said on its Twitter account.

It said Sheikh Meshaal was arrested "because of his courageous views that opposed the policies of the Kuwaiti ruling family".

The Islamist opposition MP, Waleed Al Tabtabai, said he deplored the arrest of Sheikh Meshaal "for his political views", and criticised what he called the return of a government policy of harassing activists who use social media.

Mr Tabtabai said Sheikh Meshaal had been detained for three days. Activists said he was arrested on Thursday on his return from Saudi Arabia, where he met the governor of Riyadh. So far, there has been no official comment on his arrest.

In tweets that Sheikh Meshaal wrote over the past few days, he said he would contest the next parliamentary election becoming the first royal in Kuwait to do so, and also vowed that if he became an MP he would expose corruption among top officials.

He also complained that the Kuwaiti constitution entrusts power to only one branch of Al Sabah family - the descendants of Mubarak Al Kabeer, who ruled Kuwait from 1896 to 1915.