Kuwait closes Al-Jazeera TV office

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DUBAI: Kuwaiti authorities have closed the office of the Qatar-based pan-Arab Al-Jazeera news channel over coverage of a police crackdown on a public gathering, the television said on Monday.

The channel had aired extensive coverage of the police crackdown on a gathering held by the Kuwaiti opposition on Wednesday.

It showed footage of police beating activists and aired interviews with members of the Kuwaiti opposition following the crackdown in which four Kuwaiti MPs and a dozen citizens were hurt.

Three Kuwaiti opposition MPs on Monday filed a motion to question the prime minister in parliament over the police action and alleged government clampdown on public freedoms.

Al-Jazeera television said that in addition to closing the office, Kuwaiti authorities have withdrawn the accreditation of its correspondents.

Kuwait closed the office of Al-Jazeera in November 2002 in the runup to the US-led war on Iraq because it said the channel took a hostile stand against Kuwait, and for security reasons, before reopening it in May 2005.

This followed an official visit by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, whose country has often had problems with other Arab states over controversial coverage by Al-Jazeera.

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