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Jailed Kuwait MPs request to attend parliament session
January 22, 2018, 8:47 pm

Two Kuwaiti lawmakers spending time in prison for their role in the storming of the Kuwaiti parliament in 2011 have requested to attend a parliamentary session to debate a motion to quiz the Minister of Social Affairs and Labour.

MPs Waleed Al Tabtabai and Jamaan Al Harbash said their request was based on assuming their responsibilities to approve or disapprove the grilling of the minister Hind Al Sabeeh and to support or oppose the no-confidence motion.

“Such stances can be expressed only if we personally attend the debate at the parliament since the nation had voted for us to represent the people,” they said, Kuwaiti media reported on Monday.

The grilling motion submitted by three lawmakers was prompted by alleged financial and administrative irregularities and the parliament has listed it on its agenda for January 23.

Al Tabtabai and Al Harbash are among 67 people sentenced by the Court of Appeal to terms ranging from one to seven years after they were found guilty of using violence against security men in November 2011 and storming the parliament to demand the resignation of the then prime minister Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad.

The storming, unprecedented in Kuwait’s history, had caused serious consternation in the country and was labelled “The Black Wednesday”.

Both Al Tabtabai and Al Harbash were sentenced to seven years each while a third sitting lawmaker Mohammad Al Mutair was given a one-year jail term.

Former lawmakers Musallam Al Barrak was sentenced to nine years, Mubarak Al Waalan, Salem Al Namlan, Faysal Al Musallam, Khalid Al Tahoos to five years each and Mohammad Al Khalifa to three.

Al Barrak, a prominent opposition figure, was released from prison on April 20 last year after serving two years in a case of defaming the Emir of Kuwait in a speech that was part of an aggressive political campaign by the opposition in 2012. He was initially sentenced on April 15, 2013 by a lower court to five years in jail, but one week later, the Court of Appeals suspended the prison sentence pending legal issues.

On February 22, 2015, the Court of Appeals ruled a two-year sentence for the opposition figure which he served. On November 20, 2017, the Court of Appeals sentenced him to seven years in the case of storming the parliament.

Al Barrak surrendered to the authorities on Friday as he crossed into the northern Arabian Gulf country from Saudi Arabia. The parliament storming case will be reviewed by the Court of Cassation, the highest court in the country, after all defendants submit their appeal.

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