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Kuwait blacklists Hezbollah-linked journalists

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior has blacklisted nearly a dozen Lebanese journalists for suspected links to Hezbollah. Five Lebanese journalists in Kuwait will not have their residencies renewed and two others were given one month to leave the country, Al Rai Arabic newspaper reported yesterday.

Other journalists suspected of being pro-Hezbollah or providing financial or political support have been placed on a blacklist and will be barred from entering the country. The list reportedly includes Lebanese, Syrians and other Khaleeji nationalities. Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid reportedly oversaw the entire process, rejecting “several demands from people asking for mercy”, describing Kuwait’s security as a “red line not to be crossed”. Unnamed security sources quoted by Alrai newspaper said that the blacklisted persons will be classified as ‘persona non-grata’ and be deported from the country “through legal mechanisms that take national security and the expatriates’ interests into account”.

The sources said that the blacklist includes names of media figures and business who were proven by compelling evidence to provide financial, media and political support to the recently outlawed Lebanese militia or to have established contacts or held meetings with Hezbollah leaders and representatives.

Terrorist group
Hezbollah militias and their leaders, factions and groups were this month classified as a terrorist group by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League. The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Three mechanisms will be enforced in dealing with the black-listed pro- Hezbollah supporters. Under the first mechanism, people who were declared persona non-grata will be denied entry when they return to Kuwait after their trips abroad. As a second procedure, blacklisted persons will not have their residence permits renewed once they expire automatically.

Under the third mechanism, some blacklisted persons will be summoned immediately and given a month’s deadline to leave the country. According to the same sources, The State Security General Directorate barred six persons from entering Kuwait on their arrival at the airport and rejected the applications of five others to renew their residence visas. They are reportedly media figures working for a TV channel and a newspaper.

Travel warning
Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah has reiterated warning to citizens not to travel to Lebanon, and for those in the country to leave immediately. His remarks came after three Kuwaiti citizens were killed in less than a week in Lebanon.

Al-Jarallah regretted the murder of the three citizens in less than a week-time “which shows that the friendly country is experiencing critical and difficult circumstances.” He was speaking on sidelines of the first conference of the citizenship and development society. Al-Jarallah said all “signs show that theft motives were behind those crimes.” —Agencies

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