Opposition plans joint demo Sunday Kuwait orders firm enforcement of unity law

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 7, (Agencies): Prosecutor General Dharar Al-As’ousi Wednesday ordered prosecutors to firmly enforce the articles of national unity protection law No. 19 of 2012.

In a circular sent to all prosecutors, Al-Asou’si underlined the importance of applying the law to protect social security and national unity.

Law No. 19 of 2012 criminalize any act or statement that instigates hatred, sedition or discrimination among the different segments of Kuwaiti society based on their tribes, sects, religions, gender, race etc.
The law stipulates also ending the license and confiscating the material of any media and communication outlets that are used to publish material that threatens national unity.

It also imposes a huge fine, on people or organization that promote hatred and discrimination among Kuwaitis, ranging from KD 10,000 to KD 200,000.

The Ministry of Interior also reiterated its denial that Jordanian police forces helped Kuwaiti police in confronting the illegal gatherings and marches in the country.

In a press statement, the Ministry said that the allegations, which are widely circulated on social networking sites, are part of vilifying campaign against Kuwaiti security agencies’ and their role in protecting the state security and stability.

It added that the circulated photo, in which a Kuwaiti special force officer appears standing beside a Jordanian peer, had been taken during a graduation ceremony of special forces training course in Jordan.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti opposition groups plan to stage a joint demonstration on Sunday against new voting rules as a standoff with the government intensifies ahead of an election on Dec 1.

While opposition groups say the rules are a bid to skew the election, the government, so far spared the mass uprising seen in Arab Spring movements elsewhere, has made clear its determination to stop street protests spilling over into unrest.

Former opposition lawmaker Waleed Al-Tabtabie tweeted that opposition groups planned a “large rally” on Nov 11 to mark the 50th anniversary of the constitution.

He said it will take place in Erada Square, a designated protest area opposite parliament.

While most of the frequent recent protests on the square have been peaceful, some have spread to surrounding streets and to other areas in Kuwait where protests are considered illegal, and resulted in clashes. In recent protests police have used tear-gas and smoke bombs to disperse thousands of demonstrators.

Last month’s “Law on Protection of National Unity” amends some aspects of the penal code, notably on social media, which the Information Ministry had said it wanted to regulate.

It makes incitement of strife in “print, visual or audible” form, including social media, illegal — an expansion of the previous definition — and also makes repetition of such statements illegal, according to a text published by KUNA.

The new rules also amend the definition of incitement to include expression of hatred or contempt towards “any groups in the community”, KUNA said.

This includes stirring sectarian or tribal strife, as well as “spreading ideas calling for the superiority of one race or group or colour or origin or religious doctrine or gender”, or calling for acts of violence related to this, KUNA said.

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