KUWAIT CITY, Jan 23: The parliamentary Legislative Affairs Committee discussed Thursday the draft laws on general amnesty. The committee, headed by MP Khalid Al-Shatti, voted on combining three draft laws – general amnesty for those convicted of storming the National Assembly building, general amnesty for those convicted in the Abdally cell case and amnesty for Abdulhameed Dashti – to be discussed, reported and referred to the Assembly as one. MPs Khalid Al-Shatti and Khalil Abul voted in favor of combining the three draft laws, while MPs Faisal Al-Kandari and Ahmed Al-Fadl voted against. Since Al-Shatti is the committee chairman, the final decision was to combine the three draft laws.
Members of committee MPs Muhammad Al-Dallal and Khalid Al-Otaibi decided to withdraw from the meeting before voting as they failed to convince the chairman to cancel the suggestion to combine the three draft laws. In a press statement after leaving the meeting room, Al-Dallal disclosed the discussion was smooth at the beginning until Al-Shatti suggested and insisted on combining the three draft laws. He argued this step is illegal and unconstitutional.
In case these draft laws are combined and referred to the Assembly as one, the MPs will be forced to make a choice – either to push for approval of the merged draft laws or abandon it. Everybody knows the three issues are different and each of them has its own circumstances and nature. It seems the idea of merging the three draft laws is aimed at disrupting the ratification of relevant laws.
Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim and the National Assembly office should look into this issue as it might lead to unnecessary disputes among MPs, he asserted. Al-Otaibi also issued a press statement, clarifying that he decided to withdraw from the meeting for the same reasons. He said the committee was given one month to complete its reports on the three draft laws, but the meetings held this month did not tackle these draft laws on except Thursday – the last day of the grace period.
This implies the intention to delay submission of reports to the Assembly as long as possible. The grace period specified in the beginning was two weeks but Al-Shatti demanded for extension to one month despite the fact that the committee received the opinions of the concerned public institutions such as the Supreme Judiciary Council, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior a long time ago, he added.
He supports draft laws aimed at developing freedoms, especially freedom of expression. He told the committee that Dashti and many other citizens will benefit from such draft laws once approved. He stressed that combining the abovementioned draft laws will only widen the gap between MPs and there will be no achievements in the end.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff and Agencies