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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Saudis 'ban' pan-Arab newspaper
Saudi newsstand
Saudi newsstands did not offer al-Hayat on Monday or Tuesday
Saudi Arabia has reportedly banned an influential pan-Arab newspaper after it criticised government ministries.

Sources at the al-Hayat daily said it was banned after refusing to abide by information ministry orders, including scrapping a column by a Saudi writer.

The paper, owned by a top Saudi prince, was not distributed this week in the conservative kingdom, officials said.

Recent columns by Abdul Aziz Suwaid had tackled health care problems and a wave of mysterious deaths among camels.

The government has blamed about 2,000 camel deaths on poor feed, denying the presence of an infectious disease.

Other reports say the ban followed al-Hayat's disclosure that a Saudi extremist had played a key role in al-Qaeda in Iraq.


Saudi information officials have not commented on the reason for the ban, nor has the newspaper made any statements about it.

Al-Hayat's headquarters are in London and it has offices and is distributed throughout the Middle East.

It is owned by Prince Khaled bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's deputy defence minister and son of its crown prince, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz.

It describes itself as "an independent, international and Arab political daily paper".

The paper has recently been cutting down in London owing to cost problems and relocating most of its operation to Lebanon.

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