KUWAIT Dec 16 Kuwait deported a German national
who said he was a journalist covering protests in the Gulf Arab
state but lacked the required press accreditation, a Kuwaiti
security source said.
All journalists working in Kuwait need to be registered with
the Information Ministry and non-accredited foreigners who
attend demonstrations are regarded as suspect because only
citizens of the country have the right to protest.
But it is relatively rare for a Western visitor to be
expelled. The small, oil-rich country has a freer press than its
Gulf neighbours and allows a greater level of dissent.
"He was deported from Kuwait," said the security source,
without giving the man's name.
The source said the man had told police he was a journalist
but could not produce a press permit when detained earlier this
month after attending at least one protest.
Germany's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it was aware of
the case. "The German Embassy was in contact with the Kuwaiti
authorities and also provided consular assistance to the man
involved," a spokeswoman said, without giving further details.
Kuwait's Information Ministry was not immediately available
Kuwait has been rocked by a series of demonstrations since
October after ruling emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah used
emergency powers to change voting rules ahead of a parliamentary
election which took place on Dec 1.
Kuwaiti journalists say they have been practising
self-censorship on sensitive subjects for years but - unlike
their counterparts in other Gulf countries - they are able to
write articles that criticise government policy and ruling
family members apart from the emir.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall in Kuwait and Erik Kirschbaum in
Berlin; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)