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Kuwait court adjourns Musallam Al Barrak’s trial to April 15

Defence team pulls out after judges turns down call for more witnesses in trial of opposition figure Musallam Al Barrak

Gulf News

Manama: A Kuwaiti court on Monday adjourned the trial of opposition figure and former lawmaker Musallam Al Barrak to April 15 to pronounce its verdict.

The decision to postpone the trial was taken following high drama when the team of attorneys pulled out of the case to protest against the refusal of the court to summon new witnesses, including the prime minister.

The withdrawal of the defence team left Al Barrak alone defending himself against the charges of undermining the status of the emir.

In his testimony, the defendant said that he did not make an impossible request when he called for the presence of witnesses, including the prime minister.

According to his lawyers, the prime minister Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak opposed the Emir’s decision to amend the 2006 electoral law and reduce the number of candidates a voter could elect in the parliamentary polls from four to one.

The opposition last year staged several rallies following the amendment of the law and several high profile figures delivered speeches calling for the boycott of the “one vote elections.”

Al Barrak was accused of breaking with the local traditions of free speech in remarks he made at a rally in October in Kuwait City, where he directly criticised the emir, warning that the country could not be taken “into the abyss of autocracy”.