Kuwait denies deal to free Iranians held for spying

December 22, 2011

A Kuwaiti official has denied reports about a deal with Tehran to release Iranians held in Kuwait for their alleged espionage activities after Iran allowed two Kuwaitis it detained for 36 days to go home.

Two Iranians have been sentenced to death and one to life in prison by a Kuwaiti court for their alleged role in a spy ring busted last year. Their case is being reviewed by the appeals court and a verdict is expected in January.

Tehran three days ago released two Kuwaiti nationals, Adel Al Yahya, a lawyer and journalist, and Raed Al Majid, a television cameraman, after it held them initially on spying charges then on abusing visa rules.

“There is no deal and there is no co-relation between the two cases,” Mohammad Al Roumi, the head of the Asian directorate at the foreign ministry, said.

“Adel Al Yahya and Raed Al Majid went to Iran on a tourist visa and not for spying activities. However, the pro-Iran spying case is now before the Kuwaiti justice which is well credited for its high honesty, credibility and fairness standards,” he said, quoted by Al Seyassah daily yesterday.

The Kuwaiti official was reacting to a statement by Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for the Middle East and Africa, that “Kuwaiti officials have promised to work to release a number of Iranians detained in Kuwait in the near future.”

‘Not acceptable’

Amirabdollahian said that he hoped the promise would be materialised soon, Irna, Iran’s news agency, reported on Monday.

The Iranian diplomat reportedly told Kuwaiti officials that “it was not acceptable for Iran to see a number of its citizens detained in Kuwait for a long time on baseless allegations.”

He said the release of the two Kuwaiti nationals was an initiative to encourage Kuwaiti officials to behave the same way towards imprisoned Iranians in Kuwait, Irna said.

In Kuwait City, the Kuwait Bar Association feted Al Yahya and Al Majid and praised all officials who played an active role to secure their release.

Al Yahya shared the misadventure with the guests attending the event.

“I never thought that going on an assignment trip to Iran would result in weeks of imprisonment,” he said.

“I went with my colleague Al Majid to record an episode of my weekly programme about a Kuwaiti woman who was married to an Iranian citizen. On the second day, we recorded the interview at her place and then went to the fish market. However, we were arrested. We were not tortured or harmed physically, but we were accused of espionage and underwent intense mental trauma. We were transferred to different prisons until our release, but we were treated well by the Iranian government,” he said.

‘Same attention’

Adel Al Abdul Hadi, a local lawyer, thanked the Kuwaiti authorities for their assistance and asked the foreign affairs ministry to “pay the same attention to speed up the release of Kuwaiti detainees in Guantanamo, Fayiz Al Kanderi and Fawzi Al Odah, and bring them home.”

Khalid Al Jarallah, the foreign affairs ministry undersecretary, said that the ministry was exerting efforts on the issue and that he discussed the Kuwaiti Guantanamo detainees’ status with US authorities on each of his visits to Washington.




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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