KUWAIT: Five opposition lawmakers yesterday submitted a draft law calling to pardon all those jailed for storming the National Assembly building over six years ago. MPs Adel Al-Damkhi, Omar Al-Tabtabaei, Ali Al-Deqbasi, Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei and Osama Al-Shaheen demanded that the draft legislation be discussed and approved urgently. The first article of the law calls for granting a pardon to those jailed for the incidents that took place on Nov 16 and 17, 2011, a reference to the storming of the Assembly building by opposition demonstrators following a protest outside the building.
The criminal court had acquitted all the 70 defendants in the case but the appeals court convicted all of them, handing harsh jail terms to 67 activists including three MPs, suspending the terms for two others and dropping charges on one after his death. The case is now being reviewed by the court of cassation, whose rulings are final and cannot be challenged.
The second article stipulates that all verdicts issued in the case will be scrapped, whether they were issued by the lower court or the court of cassation, even if they were passed in absentia. It also states that those verdicts will be treated as null and void along with all the legal procedures and will not be included in their criminal records.
Article three states that all those jailed under the case – whether in initial or final verdicts – shall be released immediately and the public prosecution will take all the necessary measures to shelve all complaints in the case. The lawmakers said that the proposed general amnesty stems due to the special circumstances that surrounded the events. They also said the move will close a chapter of the past and open a new page to set a bright future for Kuwait, adding the pardon will pave the way for national reconciliation in the country. The draft law must first be cleared by the legal and legislation committee of the Assembly and then sent to the floor for a vote. A number of MPs have already expressed their opposition to the bill.
By B Izzak