Kuwait has ordered a news blackout on a videotape allegedly showing former senior officials plotting to overthrow the oil-rich Gulf state's government.

State news agency KUNA reported on Thursday that the country's royal court had ordered that an investigation be carried out in secret.

"The attorney general has ordered that the investigation in this case should be confidential and ordered a ban on the publication of any news on the case in all media," including social networks and the Internet, attorney general Dherar Al-Asousi, was quoted as saying by KUNA.

The attorney general said his office was conducting "a probe into reports indicating the existence of a tape containing information and data implicating some people in plotting to overthrow the regime and undermine the authority of  the emir."

Asousi said the ban was necessary because the issue "grossly harms national interests and national unity" as well as the investigation itself.

The appeal came after Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al Sabah, a senior member of the royal family and former minister, was questioned by the public prosecutor for five hours about the tape, which he said he had handed over to Kuwait’s leaders.

Fahad Al Sabah said he told the prosecutor he had a videotape dealing with financial and political matters as well as the ruling family and regional issues.

Conspiracy

On Wednesday, the royal court urged Kuwaitis "to avoid debating the issue and leave it to the public prosecution to take the necessary measures." 

Kuwait in crisis

The AFP news agency reported that MP Ali al-Rashed asked Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah if the video included a plot to overthrow the regime and requested the names of the people involved in any conspiracy.

A number of MPs and the opposition called for an immediate investigation into the issue and demanded that the government reveal the contents of the video.

Since 2006, the Gulf state has been rocked by a series of political disputes between parliamentarians and the government over preferential treatment to  ruling family members.

Source: AFP