Ex-Speaker calls for general amnesty; ex-MPs may return

Musical concert sparks controversy; MP wants old buildings renovated

Ahmad Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: Former National Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun yesterday called on lawmakers to press for a general amnesty law that pardons all those who took part in the protests against corruption. The opposition leader said that it must be stressed that all activists jailed for taking part in the protests were in fact protesting against corruption in the country and as such must be pardoned.

Saadoun’s call comes amid reports that some or all of the former MPs and opposition activists who have been living abroad after being handed tough jail terms, could return to the country soon. The activists were declared guilty by the Court of Cassation and handed a jail term exceeding three years for storming the National Assembly building during a protest.

Two of the activists were acting members of the National Assembly; Waleed Al-Tabtabai and Jamaan Al-Harbash who were later stripped of their membership. MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said earlier this week that there was some talk about the return of Harbash and some others after spending about a year and a half in Turkey.

Old buildings
MP Khalil Al-Saleh meanwhile, called on Kuwait Municipality authorities to force owners of old residential and commercial buildings to renovate and paint them – saying their only concern is to get the rents. The lawmaker said that there are no strict decisions or laws to force the landlords to repair their buildings, adding that the tenants appear to be only concerned with finding cheap apartments rather than good ones.

Egyptian Consulate
In another development, lawmakers have been pressing the Foreign Ministry to take action against officials at the Egyptian Consulate in South Surrah after a Kuwaiti lawyer claimed that he had been detained by the consulate officials who mercilessly beat him up. The lawyer said he did nothing to antagonize the consulate staff. MP Dallal inquired about the actions the ministry plans to take against the consulate staff.

Musical concert
A musical concert by an Iraqi singer caused a controversy between Islamist and non-Islamist MPs over reported violation of the law by spectators. Several Islamist MPs demanded action against the company that organized the concert but MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl insisted the program did not include any violation.

By B Izzak