Iran releases two Kuwaitis suspected of spying

December 18, 2011

Two Kuwaiti nationals who had been detained by Iran for five weeks for suspected espionage activities have been released and are now back in Kuwait.

Adel Yahya and Raed Al Majed were flown home early on Sunday abroad a private plane and were welcomed in Kuwait City by dozens of relatives and friends.

“We have received an order from Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabeh to fly the two Kuwaiti nationals on an Emiri plane,” Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid, the foreign minister, said. “The Emir had been monitoring their case closely and had told us to seek a quick settlement of the issue,” he said.

Adel, a lawyer, and Raed, a cameraman, had been detained since November 12 on charges of illegal entry and involvement in espionage activities in Abadan, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, 660 kilometers southwest of the capital, Tehran.

Bahram Ilkhas-zadeh, Abdan governor, said the two Kuwaitis had espionage equipment with them.

However, Tehran, following a flurry of protests by Kuwait’s foreign ministry and the summoning of its ambassador in Kuwait City, said that the pair had abused visa rules.

Kuwait insisted that the two men were on an assignment for Al Adalah (Justice), a Kuwaiti private satellite channel interested in covering the lives of Iranian women who had been married to Kuwaiti men, and that they had the proper documents for the filming.

Relations between Kuwait and Iran were strained after Kuwait said that it had busted a pro-Tehran spy ring and put its members on trial after it charged them with spying and passing on information on the Kuwaiti and US military in Kuwait to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The criminal court on March 29 sentenced two Iranians reportedly belonging to the ring to death.

It also condemned a Kuwaiti national to death and a Syrian and a stateless Arab to life in prison, but acquitted the only woman, the daughter of one of the men on the death row, and another Iranian suspect.

The defendants challenged the verdict and the court of appeals will look into the case in January.

Iran has denied the charges and said there was nothing to spy on in Kuwait.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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