Gulf | Kuwait

Kuwait frees one of two detained royals

He says he was questioned by secret service police on accusations of insulting Emir

  • AFP
  • Published: 15:31 November 10, 2012
  • Gulf News

Kuwait City: Kuwait has released Shaikh Abdullah Salem Al Sabah, one of two members of the ruling family arrested for tweets deemed critical of the government, he said on Twitter on Saturday.

“I asked them [police] to refer me to the public prosecution to defend myself from the horrifying accusations, but they insisted that I sign a pledge and they released me,” Shaikh Abdullah said.

Shaikh Abdullah was arrested on Wednesday, while Shaikh Nawaf Malek Al Sabah was detained a day later. It was not clear if he was also freed.

Shaikh Abdullah said he was questioned by the secret service police on accusations of insulting Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah and instigating against the regime.

He is the grandson of the emir’s half-brother, the late Shaikh Abdullah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

The two young royals have written tweets sympathetic to the Kuwaiti opposition, which has been organising protests against an amendment to the electoral law seen as a ploy to produce a pro-government parliament in a snap December 1 general election.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch called on Saturday for Kuwait to revoke a ban on demonstrations and respect the people’s right to peaceful assembly.

“Kuwait’s authorities should revoke [a law] ... to ban all demonstrations because it denies the right to peaceful assembly,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at New York-based HRW.

“The government has an obligation to respect the right to gather peacefully regardless of whether demonstrators support or oppose its policies.”

More than 150 protesters and 24 police have been slightly injured at three demonstrations since October 21 held to protest a decree by the emir to amend the electoral law.

“If force is required to quell violence by protesters it should be the absolute minimum necessary to protect lives and property,” Stork said.

“The right to peaceful assembly is enshrined in the constitution Kuwaitis will be celebrating... Authorities should lift the ban and permit people to express their views,” he said.

Kuwait’s government is marking on Saturday the 50th anniversary of its constitution, with a display of fireworks. The opposition will be celebrating on Sunday with a massive rally.

The opposition has been protesting the amendment to the electoral law they say amounts to a coup against the constitution because it allows the government to influence the outcome of parliamentary elections set for December 1.

It is boycotting the election, and no one from among its ranks has registered to run for office. It has been urging people not to vote.

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