Amir agrees to reinstate revoked citizenships: MPs

Lawmakers shelve threats to grill premier

KUWAIT: Former MP Abdullah Al-Barghash (left) receives guests at his residence yesterday after his citizenship and that of his family was reinstated on the orders of HH the Amir of Kuwait. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: A large number of lawmakers said after meeting HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday that he has agreed to reinstate citizenships of opposition figures that were stripped by the government in the summer of 2014. “Thanks to the generous gesture of the Amir for reinstating the revoked citizenships,” opposition Islamist MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said on Twitter. He said the move was the result of efforts by a number of MPs and the Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem. He also thanked Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah.

The announcement came after Ghanem and 13 MPs representing various groups met HH the Amir. Ghanem told reporters that a number of issues including the revoked citizenships were discussed with the Amir and “his response to the issue of citizenship was positive”. The speaker said the Amir assigned him and the prime minister to follow up the issue of citizenship and present it in full to the Amir. Almost all the lawmakers who took part in the meeting with the Amir confirmed that a decision has been made by the Amir to restore the citizenships.

In a crackdown on the opposition in 2014, the government decided to withdraw Kuwaiti citizenship from a number of opposition figures and dozens of their family members. They included former Islamist MP Abdullah Al-Barghash and 57 members of his family, owner of Alam Al-Youm newspaper Ahmad Jabr Al-Shemmari, Islamic preacher Sheikh Nabeel Al-Awadhi and former spokesman of the Popular Action Movement Saad Al-Ajmi, who was later deported to Saudi Arabia.
The decision was strongly criticized by opposition groups and local and international rights organizations, which accused the government of revoking citizenships for political purposes. Those who lost their citizenship took the fight to courts, which gave contradictory verdicts, as some courts said they were not competent to rule on sovereign issues while others ordered the citizenships to be given back.

Opposition MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf said that in return over the restoration of the citizenship, MPs agreed to halt the use of constitutional tools against the prime minister and to work to achieve political stability. MP Riyadh Al-Adasani however said he has not given any promise not to file to grill the prime minister if it was necessary. MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei said the deal includes the return of Ajmi from Saudi Arabia and expected that he could come back to Kuwait within the next two days.

Three of the opposition figures included in the move issued brief statements in which they thanked HH the Amir and all those who exerted efforts to resolve the issue. None of the lawmakers who were involved in the issue gave a timeframe for the restoration of the citizenships. Subaei however said that they were told that Ajmi will have to wait for one year after coming back to get back his citizenship.

By B Izzak

This article was published on 06/03/2017