Manama: Two leading Kuwaiti activists were allowed to go home after an appeals court overturned a six-month jail term on one and ordered the release of the second.
The court reversed an earlier decision by the lower court to sentence Khalid Al Fadhala, the secretary-general of the liberal National Democratic Alliance, to three months in prison for allegedly using a public rally to accuse the prime minister of collaborating with others in money laundering.
Under the new verdict, Al Fadhala was sentenced to ten days in prison, a verdict that allowed him to go home amid a thunder of applause and euphoric scenes of jubilation by his relatives and supporters.
"I am too tired to make a statement. Please excuse me," Al Fadhala told the people cheering him as he left the court at around 9 pm on Monday wearing a Kuwaiti thobe and a headdress. Earlier, as he was brought to the court, he was wearing the prison thobe and his head was not covered.
In the second case, liberal lawyer and columnist Mohammad Al Jassem, who had been detained on charges of slandering the prime minister Shaikh Nasser Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah, was acquitted.
On April 1, a lower court sentenced Al Jassem to six months in jail and ordered him to pay a $17,500 (Dh 64,282) fine for allegedly making offensive remarks against Shaikh Nasser at a public lecture on "Where's Kuwait heading?" on October 18.
Al Jassem reportedly attacked the prime minister's management of some state affairs. His case drew regional and international attention with several organisations urging the Kuwaiti authorities to release him.