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Kuwait suspends three officers pending suicide investigation

Syrian prisoner used his bedsheets to commit suicide and his body was found six hours later

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Gulf News

Manama: Three Kuwaiti officers have been suspended pending the results of an investigation into the suicide of an inmate in the Central Prison.

The decision to suspend the officers was communicated by Interior Minister Shaikh Khalid Al Jarrah to the parliament as he announced that the Public Prosecution was continuing its probe into the suicide of the prisoner who made headlines last month for assaulting opposition figure former lawmaker Musallam Al Barrak.

The inmate, a Syrian national according to social media in Kuwait, was detained in a drug-related case.

He was transferred to a solitary cell following the assault, and an investigation was launched into the incident in which Al Barrak was slightly injured.

Sources said the prisoner used his bedsheets to commit suicide and that his death was discovered six hours later, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported on Wednesday.

The inmate took his breakfast and was later served his lunch. However, at dinner time, it was discovered that he had not taken his lunch and the body was discovered, the source added.

Several inmates in the same ward were questioned as part of the investigation.

Al Jarrah told the parliament that the suspension of the three officers was to make sure there would be no influence on the investigation.

The government does not mind tasking the human rights parliamentary committee to conduct its own investigation into the suicide, he added.

“The Ministry of Interior has announced in its statement the incident at the Central Prison and the measures that it had taken,” Al Jarrah said. “Following the outcome of the investigation, the ministry will announce all the facts and we have nothing to fear.”

The parliament tasked its human rights committee with conducting its own probe into the suicide and to submit a report without delay.

Lawmakers welcomed the minister’s decision to suspend the officers to allow a transparent investigation and said that it should be concluded quickly “to avoid further rumours and allegations.”

A lawyer for the inmate said that he received a call from his client on February 24, five days after the assault on Al Barrak, informing him that he had been threatened by two prisoners and that they got into an argument. Others kept them apart until prison guards arrived and put them each in solitary cells, the lawyer said.

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