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MENAFN - Arab Times - 26/08/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab Times) KUWAIT CITY Aug 18 (Agencies): Kuwait briefly detained a prominent Sunni Muslim cleric less than two weeks after the United States included him on a sanctions list on suspicion he was funnelling money to militants in Iraq and Syria his lawyer said on Monday. Shafi al-Ajmi who was detained on Sunday on the border with Saudi Arabia while returning home from a pilgrimage was released after four hours of questioning his lawyer said. 'He was released without any charges' the lawyer Mohammed al-Jumia told Reuters. 'He is now at home.' Jumia said he planned to file a lawsuit against the US Treasury to lift his client's name from its blacklist but gave no further details. An Interior Ministry spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment. Kuwait has been one of the biggest humanitarian donors to Syrian refugees through the United Nations but it has also struggled to control unofficial fundraising for opposition groups in Syria by private individuals. The government of the USallied Gulf Arab state has stepped up its monitoring of individuals and charities suspected of collecting donations for militants linked to al-Qaeda in Syria and in Iraq. On Aug 6 the United States imposed sanctions on Shafi and two other men suspected of funnelling money from Kuwait to Islamic State the al-Qaeda splinter group that has seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. Washington also said the men had helped smuggle fighters to Afghanistan and Iraq. Last year Kuwait banned a television show that Shafi appeared on saying it incited hatred. As well as calling for armed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Shafi has called on supporters to torture and kill fighters in Syria linked to the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah evidence of how the Syria conflict has aggravated Sunni-Shi'ite tensions across the Middle East. Kuwaiti Information Minister Sheikh Salman al-Humoud al-Sabah said at the time that authorities would investigate how a show featuring the cleric was allowed to be broadcast on state television. On Friday the UN 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. One of the sanctioned Kuwaitis was identified as Hajjaj al-Ajmi another prominent Muslim cleric who belongs to the same extended tribe as Shafi al-Ajmi's Kuwaiti cleric Hajjaj Al-Ajmi one of the two Kuwaitis who has been placed on the list of international sanction for his alleged for support for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda the Nusra Front and DAESH has denied the accusations during interrogations with the authorities. The men are placed on the blacklist of terrorism as part of a resolution adopted unanimously by the members of the UN Security Council under Chapter VII targeting extremist Islamists in Syria and Iraq. Al-Ajmi in a statement told the Al- Seyassah daily he will file a petition with the UN Security Council saying he does not support any terrorist groups or their activities and does not fund any terrorist organization which unjustly kills people in the name of religion. He added his work is purely humanitarian to help ordinary people primarily Muslims who suffer from wars and international crises. Meanwhile the pro Al-Nusra Front leaders in Kuwait have said the Front does not support terrorism but at the same time they stressed on their support for the Syrian revolution. They said in their tweets that what is being done by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or the so-called 'DAESH' is distortion of Islam. Meanwhile the State Security and personnel from the ministries of Interior and Defence and military intelligence met yesterday to discuss the latest security developments and what they called 'threats on the internal front' reports Al- Shahed daily. The meeting also discussed the issue of two Kuwaitis who are blacklisted for alleged links to international terrorism - Syria's al-Qaeda branch Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front and follow-up and monitoring the activities persons suspected of belonging to these terrorist groups By: Nasser Al-Aslami and Khalid Al-Hattab Al-Seyassah Staff and Agencie


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