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WRONG is the one who thinks suppressing freedoms of opinion and expression is a source of strength. In fact, any attempt to suppress opinions is a heinous crime against the nation. Also, the one who thinks, even for a moment, that he can prevent people from talking is mistaken.
Anyone who seeks to continue with this approach must remember that the basis for the establishment of Kuwait happened through consultation among all components of society.
He should not forget that the ‘diwaniyas’ were the decision-making factory, as the ruler stood on the opinion of the dignitaries, and even of the common people. For this reason, the country developed and prospered at a time when darkness prevailed in the rest of the Arab region.
Kuwait, since its existence, has been an oasis for those fleeing oppression in the region, and even from distant countries. That is why it is unfortunate that it has transformed from a freedom maker to a police state that punishes its sons and daughters with the most severe punishments including imprisonment just because of 160 letters.
Rather, it is very shameful that its democracy has turned almost blind and does not see further than its nose. Harsh sentences are imposed on Twitter users, some of which reach 80 years, and the price of a “tweet” becomes five years in prison.
From where did this blind law called Cybercrime Law come? It was approved in the National Assembly whose only concern was to extend its hegemony over the entire state, and a government that saw it as a sight to see the rampant corruption in all its institutions and to plunder the public money without accountability or oversight.
It is accepted in all countries of the world that amnesty is an essential pillar in restoring the public good and opening channels of dialogue. For this reason, Kuwaitis rejoiced in the issuance of the general amnesty a few months ago for over 600 bloggers, some of whom were languishing in prison for many years, and others were fugitives abroad. Circumstances compelled them to turn into the opposition voice against the state.
In this regard, it is very important to emphasize that the approved phrasing of the amnesty equated those who were prepared to take up arms against the state and those who fought with words, as if the goal was to distort the image of everyone, with the exclusion of every Twitter user who highlighted a defect in the administrative practice and the executive authority, or revealed parliamentary malpractice.
This matter has never been witnessed by Kuwait during the 400 years of its existence. This means a radical transformation must be discussed at length. The causes of this, as we mentioned, include a game of mutual interests between the National Assembly and the government in which the deep state has the upper hand, in order to protect its symbols first, and secondly to suppress every free voice second.
Today, there is a historic opportunity. A great relief was recorded after the last Amiri speech. To complete this relief, it is necessary to pardon the bloggers and remove the stigma caused by the cybercrime law, which is against the Constitution and the traditions and customs upon which Kuwait was founded. Will there be an initiative to remove grief and disappointment for those inflicted, and send joy in the hearts of their families?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times