KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait has arrested the leader of the Islamist Ummah Party for allegedly insulting the neighbouring Gulf state of Saudi Arabia on television, the interior ministry said. Hakem al-Mutairi was arrested at the instruction of the public prosecutor for ‘grossly insulting Saudi Arabia’ during an interview, the ministry said in a statement.

Mutairi is the head of the Ummah Party, a group of Islamist and conservative politicians founded in 2005 but still not officially recognised. The group said Mutairi was arrested by the secret police on Friday and interrogated over remarks he made on television in December about the death of head of Ummah Party in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed al-Mufreh. It said Mutairi raised questions that Mufreh may have died from poisoning at a hospital in Turkey. In recent months, Kuwait cracked down on online activists for criticising Arab leaders, especially Gulf states and Egypt. Authorities detained and questioned several activists and former MPs for ‘insulting’ Egyptian, Saudi and Emirati leaders.