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Kuwait court upholds government decision to shut daily

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s lower court on Wednesday upheld a government decision to shut leading newspaper Al-Watan which has been highly critical of the government, a lawyer for the paper said.

“The court rejected our challenge to two decisions by the ministries of commerce and information to revoke the commercial and media licences of Al-Watan,” attorney Rashed al-Radaan told AFP.

In January, the ministry of commerce and industry revoked the commercial licence of Al-Watan saying it had violated minimum capital requirements and shut the newspaper.

Under Kuwaiti law, the commercial licences of companies with losses worth more than 75 percent of their capital are cancelled.

The information ministry later revoked the media licence of the newspaper.

“The judge did not accept our arguments that the commerce ministry is not authorised under the law to revoke the licence of a shareholding company. We will study details of the ruling and file an appeal at the court of appeals within a few days,” Radaan said.

Al-Watan, one of the largest dailies in Kuwait, is owned by former oil minister Sheikh Ali Khalifa al-Sabah, a member of the ruling family, and is managed by his son Sheikh Khalifa.

The newspaper has traditionally supported the government, except in the past two years when it adopted a tougher line. -AFP

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