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Ruling on key Kuwait court case postponed to July 8
May 6, 2018, 3:04 pm
Picture made available on 21 May 2011 members of parliament and their supporters during a protest in front of Prime Minister office, Kuwait City, Kuwait, late 20 May 2011. According to local sources, protesters demand a change of government and resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah. - AFP

In one of the longest-running cases in the history of the country 69 defendants charged with storming parliament in 2011 await their fate

Kuwait’s Cassation Court postponed one of the longest running cases in the history of the country to July 8.

The court was expected to issue its final ruling on a parliament storming lawsuit that has been pending for more than six years—the fate of 69 defendants, including three sitting lawmakers and eight former MPs, is at stake.

The defendants were charged with storming the parliament in November 2011, demanding the resignation of then Prime Minister Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad.

The incident, unprecedented in Kuwait’s history, was labelled “Black Wednesday” and caused uproar in the northern Arabian Gulf country. The suspects insisted they acted “without malicious intention”.

The case remained pending until December 2013 when the Criminal Court acquitted all suspects. However, the Court of Appeals in November 2017 rejected the ruling, and sentenced the defendants to jail terms ranging from one to nine years.

The court ordered the defendants to surrender and serve the jail terms and many of them complied. Several defendants challenged the verdicts at the Court of Cassation and their lawyers requested that they be released until the trial is resumed.

Under the Cassation Court rules, defendants who do not surrender automatically lose their right to appeal and the verdict by the Court of Appeals is upheld. On February 18, the Court of Cassation released the defendants ahead of the final ruling in May.

Today, the Court of Cassation could decide to refer the case back to the Court of Appeals on the grounds that two of the defendants did not present their defence pleadings.

The court could also dismiss the verdict by the Court of Appeals and issue its own ruling, experts told Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah. A third option is to uphold the verdict pronounced by the Court of Appeals while another possibility is to reduce the sentences.

The Court of Appeals in November sentenced MPs Waleed Al Tabtabai and Jamaan Al Harbash to seven years each, and a third sitting lawmaker, Mohammad Al Mutair, to 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.

Source: Gulf News

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