Kuwait’s top court on Monday ordered leading opposition leader Musallam Al Barrak to be released on bail ahead of a final decision on charges he insulted the country’s ruler, the activist’s lawyer said.
The case against Al Barrak stems from a speech he gave during a rally in 2012. He called on Kuwait’s ruling Amir, Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, not to “drag the country into a dark abyss,” and said Kuwait risked becoming an autocratic state.
Lawyer Thamer Al Jedaei said that the Supreme Court ordered his client released on bail of 1,000 dinars ahead of a court hearing on May 18.
Al Barrak was originally sentenced to five years in prison by a lower court, but an appeals court overturned that verdict and issued a shorter two-year sentence in February.
“We’re all very happy to see Al Barrak free, and we are hopeful that the court’s ruling next month will be in his favour,” Al Jedaei said. “We’re glad that he’s out and can be among his supporters tonight.”
Last month, a protest in Kuwait City in solidarity with Al Barrak turned violent when hundreds of his supporters defied government regulations and marched from Irada Square toward the parliament building nearby. Riot police used batons against protesters, arresting at least a dozen.
Al Barrak previously was arrested in July for five days after he revealed documents alleging huge sums of illicit financial transfers were made to senior officials, including judges in Kuwait. In the days following his arrest, protesters took to the streets in his hometown province of Jahra, southeast of the capital, Kuwait City. Protesters there burnt tyres and fired flares at security officers.â€¨