Kuwait closes Shia TV channel over 'Hizballah links'

Kuwait closes Shia TV channel over 'Hizballah links'
A Kuwaiti-based Shia TV station owned by a man accused of being a 'Hizballah cell ringleader' has been forced to close after being accused of being Iranian backed.
2 min read
28 July, 2017
Kuwait has jailed several individuals alleged to have conspired with Hizballah [AFP]

A Kuwait-based Shia TV channel has been forced to close, after the broadcaster's owners were accused of links to Iran and Lebanon's Hizballah

The country's official Kuwait News Agency reported on Thursday that the al-Kout channel's broadcast licence was revoked, naming its owner Basel Dashti as a former member of the so-called "Abdali Cell".

Its alleged members were charged with smuggling and possessing weapons in 2015, and was reportedly in contact with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanese Shia militia Hizballah.

Dashti was himself jailed for five years earlier this month after being charged with "contributing to bringing weapons and receiving illegal training".

The other alleged cell members received a range of sentences, however were later acquitted and freed.

Their release was short lived, however, as Kuwait's Supreme Court overturned the appeal verdict and sentenced them to terms ranging from five to 15 years in prison.

Earlier this month, Kuwait expelled Iranian diplomats over similar accusations, alleging that officials were colluding with Hizballah to plan attacks inside the country.

Kuwait's senior ally Saudi Arabia has been at loggerheads with Iran over a number of regional issues.

Saudi Arabia has also led a blockade on GCC partner Qatar, due to its alleged close links with Iran.