Kuwaiti opposition and former MPs along with supporters raise four fingers in reference to four-votes system
Appeals court bails 3 former MPs Hearing today on Musallam Al-Barrak

KUWAIT CITY, Feb, 10: Three opposition ex-MPs were released on Sunday by the Court of Appeals on a KD 5000 bail each after they appealed a verdict that convicted them of making statements deemed offensive to HH the Amir.

The court ordered the release of Falah Al-Sawagh, Khaled Al-Tahous and Bader Al-Dahoum pending a decision on the case and set the next hearing for March 10 to question the concerned officer on the events of the seminar where the alleged offensive statements were made.

Amidst heavy security presence, the Court of Appeals reviewed the case of the former lawmakers who were convicted on Feb 5 of the state security offense and sentenced to three years in prison. The ruling was unprecedented in the history of Kuwait.

The opposition ex-lawmakers, however, were only briefly detained on Sunday during the appeal session, despite the arrest warrant issued last week, and were immediately released once the bail was ordered.
On Monday, Feb 11, the Criminal Court is scheduled to hold a hearing on the state security case against prominent oppositionist and former lawmaker Musallam Al-Barrak. He is also charged with making statements deemed offensive to the state’s authority during a seminar last October. If convicted, he could also face up to five years in prison.

Agencies add:
The former MPs were charged with undermining the status of the emir during an address at a public gathering on October 10 in which they warned that any amendment to the electoral law could lead to street protests.

Kuwait later saw protests at which demonstrators said an amendment to the electoral law allowed the government to influence election results and elect a rubber-stamp assembly.

The opposition boycotted a December 1 general election in protest at the amended law.

The lower court sentence had sparked peaceful street protests, and dozens of youth activists have staged sit-ins every night since in protest against jail terms on Twitter users and activists.

So far, Kuwaiti courts have given jail terms of between two and 10 years to at least four opposition tweeters for allegedly insulting the emir. Many more are on trial on similar charges.

By: Nihal Sharaf Arab times Staff

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