Russia bans Kuwaiti relief organization as terror front

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

MOSCOW Russia has banned a Kuwaiti group deemed as a front for what officials termed as terrorist activities.

The Russian Supreme Court upheld a decision that banned the Kuwaiti Kuwaiti Islamic Relief Association. The decision included approval of a request to close the association's office in Moscow.

The association appeared on a so-called black list of 15 groups deemed as terrorist. The Kuwaiti group, which opened in Russia in 1993, was the only one on the list that had legally registered with Russian authorities, Middle East Newsline reported.

The closing of the Kuwaiti group was part of a Russian crackdown on a range of groups deemed as helping Chechen insurgents. Russia has often accused Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Middle East countries with funneling money and harboring Chechen insurgents.

The Russian court decision will also allow authorities to freeze the assets of the Kuwaiti association and the other groups on the black list.

Officials said the Kuwaiti association refused to disclose its activities to Russian security agencies since 2000. They said the Kuwaiti group has been one of the most active in financing Chechen insurgents and the recruitment of Islamic volunteers to support the breakaway republic.

The only organization said to have provided more support than the Kuwaiti group is the Muslim World League, based in Saudi Arabia. The league has more than 100 branches in 30 countries.

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