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Kuwait court to consider Al Barrak’s appeal on Monday

Clashes follow attempt to arrest ‘defiant’ opposition leader

  • Kuwaiti opposition demonstrators flee tear gas and stun grenades fired by riot police on April 17, 2013 duringImage Credit: AFP
  • Kuwaiti opposition leader and former MP Mussallam al-Barrak (C) attends a demonstration in Kuwait City on ApriImage Credit: AFP
  • Kuwaiti Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Hmoud al-Sabah (C-front) leaves the hall during a parliament sessionImage Credit: AFP
Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait’s court of appeals will on Monday start considering the case of opposition leader and former lawmaker Musallam Al Barrak.

The ex-MP was on Monday sentenced to five years in jail for undermining the status of the Emir in a speech he delivered on October 15 in Kuwait City.

However, Al Barrak said the ruling was politically motivated and appealed against it. Under Kuwaiti law, he can also challenge the appeals court’s decision in the court of cassation.

Even though Al Barrak told his supporters following the ruling that he was ready to spend time in jail, he has so far refused to comply with the police instructions to accompany them and has remained free.

By Wednesday, police had failed in four attempts to arrest Al Barrak, who insisted on seeing the original court ruling before he would agree to go with the police and start serving his term in jail.

The situation prompted the Interior Minister Shaikh Ahmad Al Humood, who came under pressure from lawmakers for failing to implement the decision and arrest Al Barrak, to say that the former lawmaker was defiant.

“Al Barrak said he would give himself in soon after the verdict was announced by the court,” Shaikh Ahmad said. “The police went to arrest him and they had the original court ruling, not a copy. However, he refused to comply. He is now defying us and is holding meetings. He should surrender and respect the court ruling. He can appeal it later,” he said in remarks published by local Arabic daily Al Jareeda on Thursday.

However, Al Barrak in the evening reportedly said on a private television channel that he was with his supporters and that he was waiting for the original decision by the court for his arrest.

“I demand that you respect the law and the constitution, especially after what the troops did when they stormed the house, scared the people and beat up children,” he said, referring to the search of his diwaniya, a guest hall, earlier in the day for his arrest.

The interior ministry denied claims it broke the law or that women and children were attacked during the search for Al Barrak.

“The claims about the attacks on women and children being circulated are not true and lack credibility,” the ministry said. “The ministry fully realises that we are a state of laws, institutions and a constitution. The arrest attempt was conducted according to the law and upon the court order to locate and arrest Al Barrak.”

In the evening and in a show of force, Al Barrak’s supporters marched towards the police station where they reportedly clashed with servicemen who used tear gas to disperse them. The clashes lasted until past midnight, Al Jareeda reported. According to reports, the protestors who were arrested would be quizzed over taking part in an illegal protest.