Court delays Barrak case, keeps travel ban in place ‘Summons issued on 10-year-old article’

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 12: The Criminal Court on Monday postponed a state security case against opposition former MP Musallam Al-Barrak to Dec 10. Defense attorney Thamer Al-Jadei said on Twitter the case has been postponed for preparation of the defense.

A request was also filed to lift a travel ban on the political activist and is being reviewed, although sources say the court has refused to lift the ban.

Al-Barrak is accused of undermining the status and authorities of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during a demonstration in Al-Erada Square in October. He faces imprisonment for a maximum of five year if convicted.

Following mass demonstrations earlier this month, Al-Barrak was released from custody on bail of KD 10, 000. Al-Barrak affirmed he spoke the statements of which he is accused of but denied the charges brought against him, according to sources.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals set Dec 10 to decide on the case of citizens who are charged with storming Al-Watan TV last 2012 elections. The nine accused were released on bail of KD 300 each. Also, the Administrative Court postponed to Nov 19 a case brought by lawyer Yacoub Al-Sanaa against the electoral amendment decree of urgency to halt the Dec 1 elections.

Three other former opposition MPs — Falah Al-Sawwagh, Khaled Al-Tahus and Bader Al-Dahum — are to appear in court on Tuesday on similar charges. They were detained for five days last month before being freed on bail of $17,800.

A fifth former lawmaker is to appear in court on Nov 26 while a sixth ex-MP is facing similar charges but no date has been set for his trial.

Kuwait’s Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition has been staging protests against a decision by the Amir to amend the electoral law.

The opposition claims that the change is not legal and is aimed at electing a rubber stamp parliament when voters go to polls on Dec 1.

Three major protests in the past three weeks have turned violent but a massive rally on Sunday passed peacefully. The opposition has said it will continue protesting until the law is repealed.

Meanwhile, Kuwait’s public prosecution has summoned Islamist activist Hakem al-Mutairi over an article he wrote 10 years ago and deemed to undermine the Amir’s status, the writer said on Monday.

Mutairi, a former president of the Islamist Ommah Party, said on Twitter that he was called in for interrogation over the article that was first posted in 2003 and then reprinted in the Kuwaiti newspaper Alam Al-Youm in 2007.

“The public prosecution has accused the editor of Alam Al-Youm (Abdulhameed al-Daas) and myself of undermining the status of the Amir,” said Mutairi, who is a professor of Islamic affairs at Kuwait University.

“Authorities think that through these oppressive measures, they will stop me from challenging tyranny. This didn’t work before the Arab Spring, how will it work now?” Mutairi said.

The article covered Mutairi’s view that the Arab world needs fundamental change and reform to achieve justice and equality, saying such objectives can be achieved through peaceful protests.

The Islamist Ommah Party was founded in Kuwait in 2005 but the government has not recognised it because political parties are not legal in the Gulf state though many groups operate freely as de facto parties.

The party later established branches in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, with all three very vocal against monarchies in the energy-rich Gulf states.

Kuwait has been clamping down on dissent amid a political crisis that has seen the opposition stage mass rallies against an amendment to the electoral law ahead of Dec 1 polls.

By: Nihal Sharaf Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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