Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 86, has been laid to rest in a private funeral.
Kuwait’s late Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 86, has been laid to rest in a private funeral attended by select relatives.
State television on Sunday showed a prayer ceremony at Bilal bin Rabah mosque in the capital Kuwait City and a funeral procession to the Sulaibikhat cemetery for the emir, which were limited in attendance to the ruling family.
Parliament speaker Ahmed al-Sadoun was the only top official outside the al-Sabah family to be allowed to attend the prayers at the mosque.
Kuwait’s new emir, the 83-year-old Sheikh Meshaal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, was seen shedding a tear at the ceremony and accompanying his half-brother’s coffin, which was draped in a Kuwaiti flag.
The new emir will receive condolences from the wider public on Monday and Tuesday.
A 40-day mourning period has begun, and a three-day shutdown of government offices will last till Tuesday. Across Kuwait City, flags were lowered to half-mast and large digital billboards displayed pictures of the late ruler.
Simple yet moving funeral procedures of the late emir of #Kuwait:
*prayer held in Sh Nawaf’s favorite mosque, Bilal bin Rabah
*prayer limited to family; speaker of parliament present in 1st row w/ senior family members
*incoming emir in tears
*procession en route to burial site pic.twitter.com/msfyDIFcsf
— Bader Al-Saif بدر السيف (@bmalsaif) December 17, 2023
Sheikh Nawaf’s reign as the emir was very short – only three years – by Kuwaiti standards, and was marred by illness. He had been admitted to the hospital last month, and authorities did not announce an official cause of death on Sunday.
His predecessor and brother, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, had ruled for 14 years and was a key figure in shaping the Arab state’s foreign policy. He died in September 2020 at 91.
Despite not ruling as emir for long, Sheikh Nawaf held public service offices for six decades, serving as minister of defence, interior, labour and deputy chief of the National Guard.
Dignitaries from countries in the Middle East and other parts of the world paid their respects following his death.
Sheikh Nawaf had issued numerous amnesties for political prisoners, earning him the nickname, “emir of pardons”. One of his last moves before his death was the signing of a draft decree approved by cabinet late last month, demanding the release of dozens of political prisoners.
He was defence minister when Iraq, led by President Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait in 1990, setting off a war that drew in foreign military powers to end Kuwait’s occupation.