Archive for category Kuwait
July 08, 2018
KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait’s highest court on Sunday ordered an opposition leader and two lawmakers imprisoned for 3 ½ years over the 2011 storming of parliament amid that year’s Arab Spring protests, in a case involving nearly 70 politicians, activists and others.
Over a dozen people received prison time in the ruling by Kuwait’s Court of Cassation, while the others were released on bail or found not guilty. Tiny, oil-rich Kuwait, which has a history of representational government and toleration for protests, has been caught up in a wider crackdown on dissent across the Gulf Arab states, whose monarchical rulers were alarmed by the pro-democracy protests that swept the region seven years ago.
Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the ruling emir of the U.S.-allied nation, has said Kuwait must “protect our national unity and ward off the risks of sedition.” The defendants were initially acquitted in the yearslong case, but a shock court decision in November resurrected the charges against them. That decision accused the defendants of using violence against police officers, destroying government property and inciting violence, charges they long have denied.
Among those sentenced Sunday to 3½ years was Musallam al-Barrack, an opposition leader who left prison in April 2017 after serving a two-year sentence on separate charges. Al-Barrack had left Kuwait before the sentencing. He could not be immediately reached for comment.
Two serving lawmakers, Waleed Tabtabai and Jamaan Herbish, both Islamists, received the same 3½-year sentence, along with six former legislators and five activists. Three others received two years in prison.
In a bid to insulate Kuwait from the unrest elsewhere in the region in 2011, the emir ordered 1,000 dinar ($3,559) grants and free food coupons for every Kuwaiti. That came on top of Kuwait’s cradle-to-grave entitlements for it citizens, which the OPEC member is able to afford because it holds the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves — despite being smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey.
Allegations swirled at the time that some lawmakers had been bribed $350 million by the government to sway their votes, along with rumors that they were involved in embezzling state funds. Kuwait’s then-Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al Sabah, Sheikh Sabah’s nephew, who also faced allegations, survived a no-confidence vote.
Amid strikes and confrontations with police, protesters briefly entered parliament on Nov. 16, 2011, waving flags and singing the country’s national anthem. The activists were initially charged after the storming of the parliament but a lower court in 2013 ruled they had no criminal intent during the incident. However, a surprise appeals court ruling last November sentenced dozens of defendants to prison terms of as much as nine years.
Since then, family members of those charged have held regular nightly protests in front of parliament. While anti-government protests are illegal across other Gulf Arab states, Kuwait has stood out among its neighbors for its representational politics dating back to the 1930s, making the court case that much more surprising.
Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.
February 2, 2018
On Wednesday, the National Union of Kuwaiti Students launched a popular campaign against normalization with the Israeli occupation under the title “Kuwaiti against normalization”.
On Thursday, the Union of Kuwaiti Students distributed huge announcements in the streets of Kuwait to combat all forms of normalization with the Israeli occupation.
The announcements included a warning against academic normalization with the occupation under the cover of research and knowledge cooperation between Arabs and Israel and pointed out that “just dealing with Israel as a state and not as occupation is normalization in itself.”
The Union, which is controlled by Islamists in Kuwait, announced the convening of a seminar against normalization next Tuesday (06/02/2018).
It is worth noting that the National Union of Kuwaiti Students is a student organisation which was established on December 24, 1964 to represent students of the State of Kuwait who are studying both inside and outside the country. The Union consists of branches that are annually managed by elected administrative bodies, the largest of which is the branch of the University of Kuwait.
Source: Middle East Monitor.
DUBAI – Kuwait’s emir reappointed his prime minister on Wednesday and asked him to form a cabinet, the official state news agency said on Wednesday, after the government stepped down earlier this week in an expected cabinet reshuffle.
The major oil producer has the oldest legislature among the Gulf Arab states and experiences frequent cabinet resignations amid tensions between the government and lawmakers.
Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah had tendered his resignation on Monday.
Pan-Arab television channel Al Arabiya had earlier reported the news.
Source: Middle East Online.
August 2, 2017
Kuwait has started extensive contacts with the World Bank to prepare for hosting a donor conference for the reconstruction of the Iraqi areas that have been liberated from Daesh control, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah announced yesterday.
Speaking in an event that was held at the Iraqi embassy to celebrate the liberation of Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, Al-Jarallah said that “there was no date set for the conference,” adding that “it is likely to be in the first quarter of next year .”
“Kuwait has always stood by Iraq via the international coalition (fighting Daesh) and bilaterally,” the Kuwaiti minister noted.
Al-Jarallah pointed out that “there is coordination and harmony between Kuwait and Iraq to overcome any problems that may occur.” He also congratulated the Iraqi people on the recapture of Mosul from Daesh.
On 11 July, Kuwaiti Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, told the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi, in a phone call that his country was ready to host an international conference on rebuilding the liberated areas in Iraq.
The World Bank had also welcomed the initiative, stressing that it would support the long-term reconstruction of the liberated areas in Iraq.
Source: Middle East Monitor.
November 27, 2016
KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Opposition members are set to return to Kuwait’s parliament after a more than three-year absence, though only one woman secured a place in the legislature, elections results released Sunday showed.
Kuwaitis voted Saturday for representatives in the oil-rich country’s 50-member parliament, the most empowered among the Gulf Arab states. The election was held against the backdrop of lingering security concerns following a deadly suicide bombing last year, as well as anxiety over the depth of cutbacks to generous state-funded perks driven by a slump in oil revenues.
The gains by the opposition are unlikely to seriously upend the tiny Western-allied country’s political order. Parliament still appears to be controlled by pro-government lawmakers, who have the authority to question government ministers. Power in the country ultimately remains with the hereditary emir.
Six prominent opposition figures who have taken part in street protests secured seats in Saturday’s vote. So did 13 political newcomers, including four backed by different Kuwaiti youth liberal groups and nine representing tribal groupings.
Political parties are illegal in Kuwait, meaning opposition blocs tend to be fluid and form alliances around particular issues. Safaa al-Hashem was the only woman to win one of the 50 seats up for grabs in Saturday’s election. The liberal candidate has served in previous parliaments, and was one of 15 women who ran for seats.
The tribal opposition along with its conservative Muslim allies boycotted the last elections in 2013 in a dispute over changes to the electoral law that they alleged reduced their clout. Members of Kuwait’s substantial Shiite Muslim minority saw their share of seats fall to six from nine previously.
A new Cabinet is now expected to be formed within a week. The 15-seat Cabinet is appointed by the prime minster, who in turn is appointed by the emir.
May 18, 2016
The Yemeni government delegation on Tuesday has walked out of talks in Kuwait saying rebels insist on power sharing in violation of UN resolutions.
A source in the government delegation told Anadolu news agency that the delegation will issue a formal statement later in the day adding that the delegation intends to stay in Kuwait.
Yemen’s Saba News Agency (state owned) reported Foreign Minister, Abdulmalek Al-Mikhlafi who heads the government delegation as saying that he had asked UN envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to oblige the rebels to respect the negotiations references as precondition to return.
Anadolu news agency reported sources close to the talks earlier as saying that the rebels had asked to transfer President Hadi powers to a transitional council which includes them before they withdraw from cities they control.
According to sources the rebels have also asked to respect the peace and partnership agreement signed in September, 21 2014.
President Hadi has described the agreement void after moving to Aden in February 2015, saying it was signed under force of arms.
Meanwhile, the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Monday said the two sides were still discussing the best way to reach a peaceful solution in Yemen after nearly 4 weeks of fruitless talks.
Source: Middle East Monitor.
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Kuwaiti riot police have dispersed hundreds of Kuwaiti opposition activists who gathered outside parliament in the capital Kuwait City to demand the release of political prisoners and press for democratic reforms in the country.
The head of the Civil Democratic Movement, Tareq Al-Mutairi, said that: “everyone must assume his responsibilities towards reform… We are not asking the elected government for favors, only for our just rights. All we want is to run our own affairs, and we do not argue with the ruling party because we have democratic system in Kuwait.”
Activist Nawaf Alhandal said he was beaten by the Special Forces while the Ministry of Interior prevented the protesters from using chairs, carpets, microphones or banners at the protest venue.
The protest organizing committee said that the Interior Ministry attacked them and that the political forces will meet and issue a statement later.
Source: Middle East Monitor.