German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

Kuwait Airways canceled the ticket soon after saying Kuwaiti law prohibits all commercial relations with Israelis and Israeli companies. (File photo: AP)
Updated 25 September 2018
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German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

  • The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany
  • Frankfurt court ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, it was “factually impossible” to transport the passenger

FRANKFURT: A German appeals court on Tuesday ruled that it could not prevent Kuwait Airways from banning Israeli passengers, even though it believed the policy amounted to discrimination.
The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany, who in 2016 bought a ticket online to travel from Frankfurt to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
The state-owned airline canceled the ticket soon after saying Kuwaiti law prohibits all commercial relations with Israelis and Israeli companies.
The higher regional court in Frankfurt ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, which is under Kuwaiti jurisdiction, it was “factually impossible” for the airline to transport the passenger.
The finding was similar to a ruling reached by a lower German court last year.
In a statement, the court acknowledged that the outcome was “unsatisfying” for the plaintiff but said it had no choice but to dismiss his demand to be able to book a new journey to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
A request for financial compensation was also denied.
The judges nevertheless slammed Kuwait’s Israel boycott as discriminatory and “incompatible with German values,” but said changing it was a matter for politicians.
The non-profit Lawfare project, which is representing the Israeli passenger, said it was considering a further appeal.
“This is a tragic day for German law,” said Lawfare’s executive director Brooke Goldstein.
“Rather than be held accountable before the law, the court has rewarded Kuwait Airways for its anti-Semitism.”
In 2015, Kuwait Airways opted to scrap all its flights between New York’s JFK airport and London Heathrow after US authorities threatened legal action over its refusal to sell tickets to Israelis.


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 47 min 25 sec ago
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.