The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: A group of opposition MPs yesterday launched a different path to secure the return of a group of opposition former MPs and activists who have been living in self-exile in Turkey by publicly seeking a pardon from His Highness the Amir. Until now, the opposition has been pressing to pass legislation in the national assembly to pardon those activists who fled the country to Turkey about three years ago to avoid a harsh jail sentence passed on them for taking part in storming the national assembly building in 2011.

Those activists include leading former MPs Mussallam Al-Barrak, Jamaan Al-Harbash, Faisal Al-Muslim, Mubarak Al-Waalan, Salem Al-Namlan and others, who for years dominated the local political scene. Opposition MP Farz Al-Mutairi yesterday hosted a meeting for 15 MPs who contacted the exiled former lawmakers and discussed ways to bring them back home. Mutairi said after the meeting that the meeting agreed to seek a special pardon from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to “bring those heroes back to Kuwait”.

He said that a number of MPs from the meeting will travel to Turkey after the next assembly meeting scheduled on May 25 to negotiate with the exiles a mechanism for their return. He said that a number of the former MPs who spoke with the meeting over the phone “blessed the steps” being taken by the lawmakers, a reference that they agree for the Amiri pardon.

Until recently, all opposition MPs had insisted that the return of the exiles must be done through legislation to be passed through the national assembly. But on March 30, the assembly rejected the comprehensive pardon draft law because all the opposition MPs had boycotted that session. Now, a new law must wait until the next assembly term.

A number of leading opposition lawmakers like Mohammad Al-Mutair, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, Thamer Al-Suwait and others did not attend yesterday’s meeting of the opposition and no reason was given for their absence.