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Kuwait Prosecution ends audio-video controversy
March 19, 2015, 8:51 am
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The public prosecutor yesterday said it will not press charges against former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and former assembly speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi in the coup plot and corruption case.

The case, brought forward by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a year ago alleges that Sheikh Nasser and Khorafi had plotted to overthrow the government, were involved in contacts with a foreign intelligence service, money laundering and stealing public funds. Sheikh Ahmad had presented videotapes allegedly showing the two former senior officials plotting against the government and conducting a huge corruption scam.

But public prosecutor Dherar Al-Assoussi said that after almost a year of investigations and examination, it was found that the allegations were not supported by evidence. He said in a statement that the criminal evidence department of the interior ministry said after examining the videotapes that they were not authentic and had been tampered with. Accordingly, the public prosecutor decided to shelve the case and not press any charges against the former officials.

During investigations, the public prosecutor questioned Sheikh Nasser and Khorafi, who categorically denied the charges. The prosecutor also heard the testimony of former foreign minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah, editor of Al-Watan newspaper Sheikh Khalifa Ali Al-Athbi Al-Sabah and Sheikh Ahmad himself. The national assembly held an emergency debate on the issue and a number of opposition groups had called for an international investigation into the issue.

In a related development, the constitutional court yesterday rejected a challenge against a number of articles in the public gatherings law and insisted that organizing gatherings and demonstrations require prior permits.

The court, whose rulings are final, said that although the constitution emphasizes freedoms of speech and association but such freedoms need to be organized by the law without which the situation will become chaotic.

The ruling is a major disappointment for the opposition groups who had disputed the government that the constitution does not require permits to stage public gatherings.

The issue came to limelight after police forcibly dispersed opposition demonstrations and gatherings which were held without prior permits. A number of activists were arrested and referred to court for breaking the law.

The national assembly interior and defense committee meanwhile yesterday approved a draft law for compulsory military service that is expected to be debated by the national assembly next week.

The bill reintroduces compulsory military service on Kuwaitis after a break of more than three decades. The financial and economic affairs committee also completed discussing amendments to the capital markets law which are expected to be debated by the national assembly next week.

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