Kuwait Emir receives former Iran detainees

December 22, 2011

The Emir of Kuwait Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah on Wednesday received the two Kuwaiti nationals who were detained for 36 days by Iran.

The two ex-captives expressed their appreciation to the Emir for the efforts to secure their release after Tehran initially said they were involved in spying activities before it changed the charge to abusing their visit visas.

An official plane took them home on Sunday to a grand celebration by their relatives and friends. Adel Yahya, a lawyer, and Raed Al Majed, 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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