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Sunday , February 23 2020

Fugitive Municipality official sentenced to 7 years in jail seeks political asylum in France

Over $1billion embezzled by top man

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 21: A senior official in the Kuwait Municipality who is wanted by Kuwait to serve a seven year prison term with hard labor is allegedly seeking political asylum in France, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting knowledgeable sources. The suspect in his asylum application claims he is a political opponent and is being sought by the Kuwaiti government for unknown reasons and that he had filed his papers to stand for the parliamentary elections.

In actual fact, the daily quoting the same sources say, the man had been sentenced to the prison term in absentia in a case of burglary along with his Syrian accomplice who is detained in Kuwait on the same case. The Criminal Court in its verdict last Wednesday has ordered the defendants (the Syrian and the senior Municipality officer who is in France) to return to the State 370 million dinars which they have embezzled through forgery and also ordered that they pay double the amount (KD 740 million) in fines. The total amount exceeds one billion dinars. According to the same sources, the Municipality officer left for France about 7 months ago for treatment abroad and refused to return to the country after learning that a lawsuit was filed against him in a case involving looting state property sand.

He alleged sought political asylum about one week ago after the Criminal Court found him guilty and issued the verdict.

The sources revealed the case has been handed over to the Interpol to arrest him and return him to the country since Kuwait has signed an extradition treaty with France. The sources concluded saying the application for political asylum may delay the handing over of the accused, the accused claims he is a political opponent and that he had submitted documents to contest the polls.

Senior security sources praised the efforts that have been exerted by personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) since the beginning of the case to collect information and evidence in cooperation with other concerned authorities.

According to recent statistics issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 673 Kuwaitis are seeking refuge abroad for various reasons. The statistics, a copy of which has been obtained by the daily, show the number of registered asylum seekers during 2019 was 981, most of them bedoun, who according to UNHCR officials, the international community does not recognize the term ‘bedoun.’

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