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MP proposes good-conduct ‘clearance’ for performers Rights panel to visit Central Prison

KUWAIT CITY, April 10: Members of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee intend to visit the Central Prison soon to look into its conditions and that of the prisoners, amidst allegations of overcrowding in cells and violation of health and safety regulations. Speaking to reporters after the panel meeting Thursday, Committee Rapporteur MP Dr Ouda Al- Ruwaie pointed out the prison building is dilapidated while the number of inmates per cell allegedly exceeded the capacity and this is against the health and safety standards in prisons, particularly since there have been reports that some inmates are consuming and selling drugs while in jail.

He disclosed the committee might recommend the formation of an inquiry commission to handle the issue. He added the inmates detained at the Central Prison are serving time for their involvement in various cases like drug trafficking, murder, violation of Immigration and State Security laws. According to the lawmaker, the panel members have agreed on the need to relocate the prison and use the current location for the construction of private housing units.

He also confirmed approval of the proposed establishment of the Reformation and Rehabilitation Science Institute to train those who just graduated from the Military College on how to deal with inmates in rehabilitation institutions. He disclosed the Human Rights Committee in the Parliament has agreed to visit Geneva in May 2014 to personally look into the latest developments on correctional and rehabilitation institutions under the umbrella of the United Nations and international human rights organizations.

Meanwhile, MP Abdullah Al- Tamimi presented a proposal for security agencies to require Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti singers, musicians and actors or actresses to present a certificate of good conduct before participating or performing in any event.

He argued the arts have had a significant impact on the culture of the communities in general, and the Kuwaiti society in particular; especially since the art movement in the country coincided with the renaissance of Kuwait before it formally announced its independence. He added the arts had greatly contributed to shaping the culture of not just the Kuwaiti society, but the Gulf and the entire region as well He pointed out the departure of the first generation of artists in Kuwait, particularly in theater and television, led to the emergence of a new generation of Kuwaiti artists and other nationalities with inappropriate initiatives as seen in many incidents in the past.

Taking this scenario into consideration, Al-Tamimi presented the proposal with the following provisions:

■ All institutions — official and private — are strictly prohibited from allowing actors, singers, instrumentalists and other artists to perform unless they obtain a certificate of good conduct from the security authorities.

■ This rule applies to all artists — Kuwaitis, Arabs and other nationalities.

■ Non-Kuwaitis, who want to work in various forms of arts, should present a ‘no criminal record’ certificate from their home countries and the countries where they resided for more than three months or longer. These certificates should be accredited by the Kuwaiti Embassies in the issuing countries.

■ The ‘no criminal record’ certificate must show the holder has never been involved in all crimes and misdemeanors like undermining honor, dishonesty, drugs, possession of firearms, among others. Validity of the certificate should not exceed three months.

■ Institutions proven to have violated the stipulations of the bill will be closed for minimum of three months and punished according to the Kuwaiti Penal Code.

In another development, MP Hamoud Al-Hamdan has forwarded questions to Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Nayef Al-Ajmi on the purported selling of sand sculptures at Al-Remal Village. He wants to know the opinion of the Fatwa Authority at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs on the creation and selling of sand sculptures; as well as the display of these sculptures for public viewing. Moreover, MP Jamal Al-Omar asked Oil Minister Dr Ali Al-Omair about the country’s total production of oil and natural gas in the last three years; in addition to the cost of production, exploration and excavation in and outside the country. He also submitted queries to Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh on the financial aid granted to other countries, particularly the request of the United Nations to increase the amount taken from local production by one percent yearly.

He wants to know every detail on the increase in deposit balance from KD 1.575 billion in 2006 to KD 4.041 billion in 2013 — an increase of 156.4 percent in six years or 26 percent per year. He asked about the reasons behind the remarkable increase in the expenditures for international aid in the ministry — from KD137 million in fiscal 2010/2011 to KD 289 million in fiscal 2011/2012, and KD 565 million in fiscal 2012/2013. In the meantime, the lawmaker asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled on the Development Fund, specifically the total amount of pledges, grants and loans; in addition to the money taken from the fund. He wants to know the regulations about payment of loans granted to other countries and interests. He then inquired about the reasons for not following these regulations in some cases.

Al-Turaiji also submitted queries to the minister of interior on crimes, including those related to drugs, registered in the last five years. He wants to know the total number of prosecuted and detained criminals, their names and nationalities; in addition to the number of unidentified suspects.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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