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Barrak goes on Hunger strike to protest arrest – PAB alleges former MP detained with drug dealers

KUWAIT: Former MP Musallam Al-Barrak, who was arrested to serve a two-year jail term, went on a hunger strike yesterday in protest against his solitary confinement, well-informed sources said yesterday.

The sources added that more arrest warrants would be issued soon against a number of people who repeated Al-Barrak’s controversial speech that landed Al-Barrak in prison, especially those who had been included with him in the ruling by the court of first instance. Meanwhile, the Popular Action Bloc (PAB), popularly known as Hashd, issued a statement yesterday condemning the detention of ‘Al-Barrak in a prison allocated for drug dealers and people sentenced to death’. “This shows how personal the minister of interior is taking the issue and is violating the law and prison regulations to achieve his personal ambitions even at the expense of justice and rights,” the statement by PAB said holding the authorities responsible for Al-Barrak’s safety inside the prison. It also warned the authorities against harming him in custody.

The PAB also urged the public prosecutor to dispatch somebody to investigate what it described as ‘violations committed against Al-Barrak’, noting that his arrest would neither discourage nor stop the efforts of ‘loyal’ Kuwaitis to achieve the goal of having an elected cabinet and a fully democratic government that protects the nation’s wealth and people’s rights.

The PAB also condemned the way ‘freedom fighter’ Al- Barrak had been treated from the beginning noting that he had been ‘politically’ prosecuted and he had been deprived of the right to defend himself before the court It also described the way he was arrested as ‘illegal’ with all those arrested with him, especially after he had declared on June 10 that he would voluntarily turn himself in before the ‘repeaters’ of his speech would be sentenced on a June 16 hearing. “He was leading a normal life accepting invitations, visiting diwaniyas and attending his own diwaniya on a daily basis”, added PAB noting that MOI only wished to act heroically and create an impression that he was hiding. “On the contrary Al-Barrak was in a Kabed ranch attending a dinner party when he was arrested,” the statement added.

In May, Kuwait’s Court of Cassation upheld a two-year jail term for the popular opposition leader, a verdict that is final and cannot be appealed further. Al-Barrak labeled the ruling “political,” and refused to turn himself in to authorities. The Interior Ministry had warned in a statement Friday afternoon that harboring a fugitive is punishable by a maximum of two years in jail and/or a fine of KD2,000 according to Article 132 of Kuwait’s Penal Code.

A police team had raided an Abdali farm owned by Barrak’s brother earlier this month after receiving information that the former lawmaker was there.

By Meshaal Al-Enezi

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This article was published on 14/06/2015