KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwaiti authorities on Thursday released a prominent Sunni Muslim cleric they had detained the previous day after the United States put him on a sanctions list over suspicions he funded militants in Iraq and Syria, his lawyer told Reuters.
Hajjaj al-Ajmi, who had been detained at Kuwait airport on his arrival from Qatar, was released without charge, the lawyer said.
In their push to crack down on financing of militants in Syria and Iraq, Kuwaiti authorities also briefly detained another prominent Muslim cleric on Sunday, Shafi al-Ajmi, who belongs to the same extended tribe as Hajjaj al-Ajmi.
Shafi al-Ajmi was later released without charge.
Kuwait has been one of the biggest humanitarian donors to Syrian refugees through the United Nations, but it has also struggled to control unofficial fund-raising for opposition groups in Syria by private individuals.
The Kuwaiti government, an ally of the United States, has stepped up its monitoring of individuals and charities suspected of collecting donations for militants linked to al Qaeda in Syria and in Iraq.
Last Friday, the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on six people suspected of financing Islamist militants, including two Kuwaitis, in a move aimed at weakening Islamic State and al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, Nusra Front.
Reporting By Mahmoud Harby; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Susan Fenton
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