Ghanem visits jailed MPs as panel fails to meet again

Muwaizri urges speaker to withdraw Assembly storming case

Marzouq Al-Ghanem

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem yesterday visited MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Jamaan Al-Harbash and a number of activists jailed in connection with storming the Assembly building in 2011. The speaker described the visit as “successful and smooth”, denying reports and rumors about the visit. He said that he met the two lawmakers and a number of activists. Earlier reports had claimed that a number of activists had refused to meet Ghanem.
In a related matter, four activists jailed in the same case formed what they called the Democratic Party from their jail ward with the aim to create “a new political class to safeguard the constitution and work to develop it”. The appeals court last month sentenced about 67 opposition MPs and activists to harsh jail terms for storming the Assembly building in Nov 2011 during a protest.

Meanwhile, opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri lashed out at Ghanem and urged him to withdraw the case against the activists. He said that many such cases had been withdrawn by public entities and the cases ended, and the speaker should do the same. Muwaizri also threatened to grill Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh.

In a related development, the Assembly’s legal and legislative affairs committee failed to meet yesterday for the second time in a row to discuss a letter by the two jailed lawmakers to allow them to attend Assembly sessions. But a subcommittee assigned by the Assembly to review the letter held a meeting and heard the constitutional views of two lawyers on the matter, head of the committee MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei said.

He said that the panel asked the two experts to present their viewpoints in writing to include it in the report. Subaei said the main legal panel failed to meet because some of its members have travelled, but added they assured him they will attend the panel meeting next Monday, when the report will be ready for voting. The letter challenges the arrest of the two lawmakers, who enjoy parliamentary immunity. MP Osama Al-Shaheen held the government responsible for foiling the legal committee’s meeting “because its pro-government MPs abstained”, adding that this is a sign of the government’s unwillingness to cooperate with the Assembly.

By B Izzak

This article was published on 02/01/2018