The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The National Assembly holds a crucial session today amid continued confrontation between around 30 opposition MPs on one hand and the government and the Assembly speaker on the other. Opposition MPs have vowed to prevent the session from proceeding unless HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah accepts to be grilled over a variety of accusations.

The Assembly decided on March 30 to postpone grillings against the prime minister until the end of 2022, but the opposition insists that the decision is illegal and not in line with the constitution. Opposition MP Mohammad Al-Mutair said yesterday that the decision to postpone grillings of the prime minister amounts to a coup against the Kuwaiti constitution. He and other MPs have insisted the session will not be allowed to proceed unless the prime minister is grilled.

MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari yesterday asked Justice Minister Abdullah Al-Roumi if the Anti-Corruption Authority has investigated allegations that some ministers threatened to resign because of blackmail by some pro-government MPs who wanted them to take illegal actions. Kandari said some pro-government MPs wanted to capitalize on their support of the government by pressuring ministers to pass illegal transactions.

In the meantime, the court of appeals yesterday jailed a Bangladeshi lawmaker for seven years after convicting him of bribery and corruption. The court also sentenced Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, a senior interior ministry official, former MP Salah Khorshid and a former senior official of the Manpower Public Authority for the same period in jail for being parties to the case. The court confirmed the acquittal of MP Saadoun Hammad.

The sentence is not final as it can be challenged at the court of cassation, whose rulings are final. Meanwhile, the criminal court yesterday sentenced leading Islamist activist and leader of the Islamist Ummah Party Hakem Al-Mutairi to life in jail in absentia after convicting him on charges of plotting with a foreign country to overthrow a number of Gulf ruling families.

The sentence is based on a leaked recording of a conversation between Mutairi and former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, in which Mutairi clearly said that Gulf peoples are prepared to overthrow or at least restrict the powers of their ruling families. Mutairi, who has been living is self-exile in Turkey for some time, described the ruling as “political” against “reformists in Kuwait”, adding that such rulings will not help Gulf states resolve their dilemmas. He said on his Twitter account that such verdicts will only “boost our faith in the necessity for change”.

The criminal court also sentenced MP Marzouq Al-Khalifa, former MP Sultan Al-Shimmari and six others to two years in jail for taking part in illegal tribal primary elections. The court asked the convicts to pay KD 5,000 each to suspend the jail term.