The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: MP Mohannad Al-Sayer said yesterday he believes that a decision to pardon a number of opposition ex-MPs and activists – who have been living abroad for several years – will be issued soon. “We will be pleased shortly with the return of our brothers who are living abroad,” Sayer said in reference to around a dozen opposition figures who have been living in self-exile for over three years in Turkey.

The opposition figures left the country in the summer of 2018 to escape harsh jail terms issued by the state’s highest court, which convicted them of taking part in storming the National Assembly building during an anti-corruption protest in Nov 2011. Sayer said opposition lawmakers support any initiative for cooperation on this issue and reject politicizing it.

The opposition has been pressing to pass legislation in the Assembly that would issue a general pardon to the exiles and other prisoners jailed on political and freedom of expression charges. But their attempt has so far been unsuccessful and efforts are currently underway to secure a decree by HH the Amir to pardon them.

Last week, nine of the exiled figures issued a statement in which they criticized the failed efforts of the opposition MPs and accepted a reported initiative to pardon them as part of a dialogue for national reconciliation. Former MP Faisal Al-Mislem, one of the exiles, wrote on Twitter yesterday that if no pardon is issued, then opposition MPs must submit the general pardon legislation in the first session of the Assembly’s new term in late October.

Meanwhile, MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari yesterday submitted a draft law calling to set up a new agency to track down and recover public funds that had been stolen and deposited in special accounts abroad or invested in projects. The bill proposes the agency should be chaired by a senior judge.

The agency will follow verdicts issued by Kuwaiti or foreign courts regarding public funds and then work to bring them back. The lawmaker said public funds have been the target of theft and embezzlement for many years, and charged that the government has not paid attention to recover such funds, which necessitates the establishment of a special agency.