Kuwaiti royals summoned for questioning over attack on TV


KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s public prosecution on Tuesday summoned several members of the Gulf state’s ruling family on charges of attacking a private satellite TV channel, their lawyer said.
“They have received summons to appear for questioning on allegations they took part in the attack, causing damage to the offices and equipment and firing shots,” Abdulmohsen al-Qattan told AFP. He said his clients have categorically denied the allegations and expected them to be questioned later on Tuesday.
Those summoned are all members of the Al-Malek branch of the Al-Sabah ruling family and are accused of ransacking the offices of SCOPE TV on Sunday after the airing of a programme deemed offensive to their family. They include Kuwait’s ambassador to Jordan Sheikh Faisal al-Humoud al-Malek, who flatly denied he took part in the attack, and a senior interior ministry officer, among others.
The station was attacked by around two dozen Al-Malek members after its director and former MP Talal al-Saeed charged on a talk show on Saturday that their ancestors had attempted to overthrow the government about 50 years ago, local media quoted Al-Malek family members as saying. Officials at the TV channel put the number of assailants as high as 250.
Qattan said that a large number of Al-Malek family members have decided to sue the station for slander and defamation, without giving a date for the lawsuit. Talal and his sister and owner of the station Fajer al-Saeed are both facing charges of attempting to overthrow the government over a comedy show SCOPE aired in August titled “Sawtak Wasal” or “Your Voice Has Been Heard.”
Fajer, also the writer-director of the show, was questioned on Thursday on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, change the country’s economic and social systems and demolish the foundations of society using illegal means, her lawyer Faisakl al-Enezi said. The complaint was filed by the information ministry whose undersecretary, Sheikh Faisal al-Malek al-Sabah, is a senior member of the Al-Malek branch of the ruling family.
One episode in the comedy show spoke about “privatising and exporting Kuwaiti democracy” in a comic way to highlight continued wranglings that have rocked politics in the oil-rich emirate for years. Paris-based Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday condemned the attack on SCOPE and called for dropping all charges against the owners.