Kuwait again shuts two newspapers over ban

The independent al-Watan and Alam al-Youm were ordered to close for five days

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A judge in Kuwait on Monday ordered two newspapers to close for the second time in two months for defying a ban on an alleged coup plot, the dailies said.

The independent Al-Watan and Alam al-Youm were ordered to close for five days following an information ministry complaint last week after they published a story on videotapes allegedly showing former senior officials plotting a coup.

Al-Watan is owned by a senior member of the Al-Sabah ruling family while Alam al-Youm is close to the opposition.

The two papers were closed for two weeks from April 20 for carrying news on the videotapes after the Gulf state's attorney general ordered a total blackout while the issue was under investigation.

The videos have shaken the oil-rich emirate, prompting the investigation and parliament to hold a secret debate on the issue.

The royal court has also called for calm.

The new developments unfolded with the opposition planning a public rally for Tuesday, its first in more than a year, to expose what it calls major corruption scandals.

The OPEC member appeared to be sliding back into political turmoil following months of relative calm after years of bitter crises between MPs and the government.

Between mid-2006 and last year, about a dozen governments were formed and parliament was dissolved six times.

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