‘Facing your own music’
During a parliamentary session held in the late 1980s, an argument among MPs had escalated while they were discussing the punishments to be enforced on those who violate a law that was under discussion. The lawmakers were split into two groups with one insisting on the need for physical punishments such as beating, and the other objecting to them.
The following day, the late Muhammad Mesaed Al-Saleh, based on his experience as a lawyer and a human being concerned with national issues, had criticized the MPs who called for imposing physical punishments on prisoners. He said those MPs appear to have adopted that viewpoint with the impression that most of the violators of that law would be expatriates who usually commit crimes.
He indicated that punishments like beating and hanging are made specifically for expatriates, and that Kuwaitis and their children would not be affected by such punishments since their share of crimes was very trivial.
Al-Saleh said he agreed that most of the perpetrators of the crimes were not Kuwaitis at that time, but he indicated that a time will come when majority of the culprits will be Kuwaitis.
He added, “Therefore, lawmakers have to take this fact into consideration and incline towards mercy and justice because, sooner or later, such kind of punishments will be imposed on them or their children”.
A while back, the National Assembly had approved the not-so-popular audiovisual law. I believe all who had voted for this law thought the suggested punishments will be imposed only on expatriates while they and their children could stay in a safe corner. However, shortly later, we found many citizens paying an expensive price for that law including escaping from Kuwait, and staying as “refugees” while waiting for a miracle or a public amnesty to come to their rescue.
Activist Anwar Dashti was issued with a court verdict after he uploaded a post on Twitter that people did not like. Even though he apologized, he was sued and ended up serving a sentence of six-month imprisonment, all because of a miserable Twitter post.
The recent verdict issued by the Court of Cassation concerning the lawsuit related to the storming of the National Assembly building against a number of present and former MPs is another example of the lack of awareness among lawmakers about the consequences of the penalties specified by the law.
It proves that the lawmakers, since they had issued the law, thought they would not be affected by the penalties mentioned in the law and that the law would not be applicable to them. However, the high possibility of the punishments affecting those who issued them or at least kept silent and did not make an effort to amend the law was later discovered.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf