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Former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak is greeted by supporters outside the Courts Complex in Reggae. Al-Barrak was released Monday from detention
Kuwait court bails Barrak MoI refutes allegations on engaging citizens at Al-Safat Square

 KUWAIT CITY, July 7: Opposition leader and former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak was released on KD 5,000 bail after his first court hearing Monday for insulting the Supreme Judicial Council.

A large number of his supporters gathered in the court early morning. Sources revealed Al-Barrak was brought to the Courts Complex in Regae clad in prison clothes, blindfolded and handcuffed. Sources said he voiced objection to the presence of Special Forces at the beginning of the hearing, so the judge ordered them to leave. Sources quoted Al-Barrak as saying the Criminal Investigation Department did not provide him with medicines and ‘suhor’ (fasting meal).

He also pointed out that Faisal Al-Murshid is no longer a judge as per the law because he already resigned, sources added. Barrak told the court that before moving to the central jail, he had been detained at the central investigation department “where the treatment was extremely bad.” Barrak’s lawyer, Thamer Al- Jadaei told the judge that Barrak’s arrest and detention order “were not based on the law and accordingly he must be released by the force of law.” “We cannot accept in Kuwait that the Supreme Judicial Council becomes a police station,” said Jadaei.

The two lawsuits against Barrak were filed by the judicial council and its chairman. Monday’s ruling comes after five nights of clashes between opposition activists who have been demanding his release and riot police who fired teargas and stun grenades and arrested more than 50 people.

Riot police on Sunday fired tear-gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of opposition protesters after they started to march toward a Courts Complex in the capital Kuwait City, forcing them to flee.

The interior ministry said a number of protesters had been held while rights activist Mohammad Al-Humaidi said around 30 people were arrested. Activists said a number of protesters were wounded with at least one of them hospitalised.

They also announced they would keep protesting until all those arrested were released.

Meanwhile, MP Abdul- Hameed Dashti has called for issuance of an emergency decree on the collection of weapons, especially during this critical period. He suggested submission of the decree within 15 days after the opening of the next Parliament. He also expressed disappointment over the opposition protest actions just because of one person — Al-Barrak. He asserted the country should be the priority, indicating the court will judge Al-Barrak and the opposition can appeal the verdict rather than organizing unauthorized demonstrations.

On another issue, MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan asked Minister of Information Sheikh Salman Al- Hamoud about workers in the overseas offices of Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). He requested the minister to provide him with the following:

■ Copies of decisions on assignment to work in overseas offices of the agency from 2006 till date.

■ Names of non-Kuwaiti reporters and advisers abroad, as well as copies of decisions on their appointment, salaries and bonuses starting from the establishment of the agency till date.

■ The agency’s five-year plan on assigning Kuwaiti journalists to work in its offices abroad and the training courses they have completed to qualify for the job.

■ Journalism experience of the deputy chief editor for international affairs, his qualifications, number of years in service at the agency; as well as copies of investigations, meetings, reports and press analyses he carried out before taking this job.

■ Decisions taken by the agency’s director- general since the absence of the board of directors starting from September till date.

In the meantime, the parliamentary Public Utilities Committee intends to organize a workshop in the next legislative round to discuss the State support granted to many sectors. It will also host a program for parliamentary engineers and the date will be announced soon. Moreover, the committee included six projects in its agenda related to the environment, alternative energy, emergency, electricity, water and municipality.

It will prepare reports on these projects during the parliamentary recess to be presented at the beginning of the next legislative round. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior on Sunday night refuted categorically the allegations that Special Forces engaged with citizens at the downtown Al-Safat Square.

The allegations circulated by some social media websites in this regard have no grain of truth, the Ministry said in a statement. Things are now back to normal at the shopping area and Al-Safat Sq, after policemen used the legal means to disperse an unlicensed rally, it said, noting that there were almost no injuries.

On the traffic jam at the area, the statement said it was normal at night time since many citizens and expatriates go shopping at that time in the holy month of Ramadan.

The traffic and police men are patrolling the capital city in order to facilitate the flow of traffic and maintain security, it added.


By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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