- Kuwait Times Extra
KUWAIT: The criminal court yesterday sentenced opposition tweeter Rashed Saleh Al-Enezi for two years with immediate effect after convicting him of writing tweets deemed critical to the status of HH the Amir. Minutes after issuing the verdict by judge Wael Al-Ateeqi, police arrested Enezi who was in the courtroom to hear the ruling.
According to court papers, Enezi had made the tweets on October 30 and he did not mention HH the Amir or his name in the tweet, but the court said that it was understood from the tweet that he meant to insult the Amir. Enezi, a youth opposition activist, had categorically denied that he meant the Amir in his tweet.
It was the first ruling by the criminal court against a youth opposition activist since the government began clamping down on the opposition in September. A large number of youth activists and former opposition lawmakers are facing similar charges in court and the verdicts are expected to be issued within the coming few weeks.
Today, the court is slated to issue its verdicts against Osama Al-Munawer, a member of the scrapped national assembly, and Ayyad Al-Harbi, a youth activist, who were tried on similar charges of undermining the status of HH the Amir and criticizing him.
Under Kuwaiti law, HH the Amir is protected and criticizing him in public is a state security offense for which defendants face a jail term of up to five years. Among those facing similar charges are opposition figure and former lawmaker Mussallam Al-Barrak, former lawmakers Faisal Al-Muslim, Falah Al-Sawwagh and others.
Dozens of other activists are also on trial for a variety of accusations including storming the national assembly building, taking part in illegal demonstrations and resisting or assaulting police. The opposition has organized several rallies to demand dissolving the new assembly and scrapping the controversial amendment to the electoral constituency law.
In the meantime, a number of MPs in new assembly have submitted a draft law to increase the periods of detention that can be ordered by the public prosecution or court, in a bid to reverse a law passed by the scrapped assembly in which such periods were drastically reduced.
Under the amendment approved by the scrapped assembly, no arrested person can be kept in a police station for more than two days or a maximum of two days by the public prosecution and just 10 days by court. The new proposal calls to reverse the detention period to before the amendment which are: four days in the police station, one week by the public prosecution and 21 days by the court.
In other developments, the assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee yesterday approved an Amiri decree to transform Kuwait Airways from a corporation into a company in prelude to its privatization. Some MPs had said the approval of the decree would be harmful to the privatization of the airlines. The decree would still need the assembly’s approval to become effective.
MP Mishari Al-Husseini meanwhile said yesterday that he will submit a draft law proposing to change the electoral constituency district law to increase the number of electoral districts to 10 from the current five. Husseini said the new bill will include a provision banning that the number of voters in a single constituency will be 20 percent higher or lower from other districts.
By B Izaak, Kuwait Times Staff
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