Situation in Kuwait - Updates & Discussions

ecce homo

Well-Known Member
Kuwait protesters disrupt parliament

AP) KUWAIT CITY - Opposition lawmakers warned Wednesday of a growing political crisis after dozens of anti-government protesters muscled their way into Kuwait's parliament during debate over efforts to question the prime minister about corruption allegations.

Local media reported the demonstrators briefly chanted before being forced out as hundreds of others protested outside.

Opposition parliament members have sought to question Prime Minister Sheik Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah over claims that government officials illegally transferred money to accounts outside the Gulf country. Last month, Kuwait's foreign minister resigned as the scandal grew.

Pro-government lawmakers managed to vote down a request for the questioning, but opposition groups filed another motion to force another debate later this month.

Kuwait's key affairs are run by the ruling Al Sabah family, but it has one of the region's most politically active parliaments.

The prime minister has survived votes of confidence in parliament in the past and Kuwait's ruling system does not appear in jeopardy from the opposition groups, which include Islamist parties and others.

But it highlights the rising political tensions inside the strategic Western ally, which could host thousands more U.S. soldiers under a Pentagon proposal to strengthen Gulf forces following the withdrawal from Iraq.

Last months, Kuwait was hit by a wave of strikes that grounded the state airline and threatened to disrupt oil shipments.

Kuwait has not been hit by major pro-reform demonstrations inspired by Arab uprisings, but the tiny Gulf nation stands out in the region because of its hardball political atmosphere. Kuwait's parliament has the most powers of any elected body in the Gulf, and opposition lawmakers openly criticize the ruling family.

In January, Kuwait's emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, ordered 1,000 dinar ($3,559) grants and free food coupons for every Kuwaiti. Those handouts have been since dwarfed by other Gulf rulers trying to use their riches to dampen calls for political reform. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pledged about $93 billion for more government sector jobs and services. Last month, Qatar announced pay and benefit hikes of 60 percent for public employees and up to 120 percent for some military officers.

Kuwaitis are used to a cradle-to-grave social security system that has increasingly become a burden on the government.

ecce homo

Well-Known Member
Kuwait orders security forces to maintain order

AFP - Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, on Thursday ordered the national guard and security forces to take "all necessary measures" to maintain security in the Gulf state.

The order was issued in a statement by the cabinet which held an emergency meeting chaired by the emir, a day after opposition-led protesters calling for the premier's resignation stormed the parliament building.


Legendary Member
تظاهر آلاف الكويتيين مطالبين باستقالة الحكومة وحل البرلمان بعد رفض امير الكويت الشيح صباح الاحمد الصباح اقالة رئيس الحكومة تحت ضغط الشارع.

وضمت هذه التظاهرة نحو 15 الف شخص تجمعوا تحت المطر امام مقر البرلمان في العاصمة، مطالبين ايضا بقيام مجلس النواب باستجواب رئيس الحكومة على خلفية ملف فساد.

وأكد المحامي اسامة الشاهين في كلمة القاها امام التظاهرة التي دعت المعارضة اليها "جئنا الى هنا للمطالبة بتغيير الحكومة وهذا حق من حقوقنا الدستورية".

من جهته، دعا النائب شعيب المويزري رئيس الحكومة الشيخ ناصر محمد الاحمد الصباح الى الانصياع لرغبات الشعب وتقديم استقالته.

وكان قد اكد أمير الكويت أن كلا من الحكومة الحالية ومجلس الأمة سيكمل مدته الدستورية التي تنتهي في أيار/مايو 2013، رافضا ضمنا مطلب المعارضة بإقالة الحكومة وبإجراء انتخابات مبكرة.

واعرب الشيخ صباح عن امتعاضه من أن يقسم البعض (من نواب المعارضة) على أن يشيلوا رئيس الوزراء، وقال "حتى لو كان لدي نية أن أطلب منه الاستقالة فلن أطلب منه أن يستقيل بأمر من هؤلاء".

source alalam

ecce homo

Well-Known Member
Arab Spring stumbles in Kuwait

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah held an emergency meeting of the Cabinet. After the meeting, the Kuwaiti government media learned of the decision of the monarch to dismiss the government and dissolve the parliament. This time, the Emir sacrificed the prime minister, his nephew.

Before the decision of the monarch riots were raging in the capital of Kuwait. They stemmed from the information about government corruption. The local press obtained information that the leading ministers and representatives of pro-government forces in the parliament took bribes in the millions of dollars.

Representatives of the opposition in the parliament of Kuwait demanded a wide-ranging parliamentary investigation and called for the prime minister to provide an explanation to the people. The investigation has not been carried out. Then, the Kuwaiti opposition called on its supporters to take to the streets.

Head of the cabinet Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was in the heart of the scandal. He is a member of the royal family, a nephew of the current Emir of Kuwait. He was appointed to his position on February 8, 2006. In the next five years the Sheikh was endlessly accused of taking bribes, and his uncle each time solved the issue in favor of his nephew either by dissolving the parliament or dismissing the government.

The last time an anti-corruption scandal erupted in March of 2009. Then it was quickly solved according to the old scenario: the initiator of the scandal, Kuwait's parliament, was dissolved, and Sheikh Nasser headed the cabinet.

In December of 2010, the opposition took to the streets. The authorities ordered the police to use batons for the first time. Later Emir Sabah the Fourth ordered to give every citizen of the emirate allowance of one thousand dinars (approximately three thousand dollars) and food stamps. Neither of the measures has helped and in March of 2011 the country was rocked by demonstrations and strikes. The protests also affected Kuwait's oil industry.

Oil is the biggest source of income for this country. The average monthly salary of a Kuwaiti is $10,000. The Kuwaitis pay no taxes and receive interest-free loans from the state, free medical care and free education.

In the fall of 2011 in Kuwait another political crisis broke up. Local media was shaken by unprecedented government corruption. Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah and members of the ruling family were again in the heart of the scandal. The parliamentary opposition again demanded an investigation. Neither the Emir nor head of the cabinet reacted. On October 18 Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah resigned.

Kuwaiti newspaper "Al-Anba" wrote that a member of the ruling family resigned in protest against government inaction in relation to a corruption scandal. In addition deputies were accused of accepting bribes. Ministry of Finance until recently was headed by a member of the ruling family Al-Sabah, Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah.

As one would expect, the October resignation of Foreign Minister did not satisfy the opposition. The opposition started its actions on November 16 of this year.

That day the opposition gathered for another rally against Sheikh Nasser. Then the column of demonstrators turned toward the house of the prime minister where they were met by armed police. At the attempt to break through to the house five protesters were injured. After a brief clash with the law enforcers the protesters turned to the parliament building.

The actions of the demonstrators were coordinated by opposition lawmaker Mohammed al-Barak. He instructed the protesters to storm the parliament building. Kuwait's National Guard troops were ordered to "use force".

The Kuwaiti demonstrators chose not to be violent. They quietly entered the meeting room and sang the national anthem. After that, all the protesters in an organized manner left the parliament. At the exit they were met by police. The same day, 24 activists were arrested.

While in prison, they went on hunger strike and complained of mistreatment. On November 23 the opposition rally began at the building of the Ministry of Justice, demanding the release of those arrested. The picket lasted until November 28th. That day the government was dismissed; this time along with Sheikh Nasser.

Leonid Ivashov, Colonel-General, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues, Doctor of Historical Sciences shared his comments on the motives of Emir with Pravda.Ru:

"Kuwait has been moving towards the "Arab spring" according to the Egyptian scenario. I think that the resignation of the government was a warning and a preventive measure. The government that the people were unhappy with has resigned to prevent a revolution in the country.

"Kuwait clearly sees what is happening in the Arab East. The events in Egypt and Tunisia show that corrupt regimes can be overthrown and replaced. On the one hand, nationalism is awakening in the Arab world; on the other hand, anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments are growing. Therefore, the resignation of the cabinet of Sheikh Nasser is a preventive measure.

"They decided to sacrifice the untouchable figure of the sheikh. Especially, considering that near Kuwait there is Iraq where anti-American sentiment is increasing and where terrorist attacks have been recently organized. The "Arab spring" affects the Arab world as a dangerous virus epidemic. I think that even those who are behind the "Arab spring" are in a state of panic. In any country where it happens there is palpable hatred towards America and Israel.

"Iran cannot be disregarded either as it is preparing its own preventive measures in the Middle East. The Iranians have their own ally in this region - Oman. During the next year or two unimaginable things could happen in this region. The map of the Middle East may be drastically redrawn. I met with several politically neutral Arab politicians. Many of them had held high positions in various countries; many are still in politics today.

"They strongly condemned the decision by the League of Arab States on Libya and Syria. When I said that the Arab League is becoming increasingly Nazi-minded, none of these Arabs objected."

Arthur Priymak


J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
Kuwait to use "all means necessary" to stop opposition march...


Kuwait to use "all means necessary" to stop Sunday opposition march


Kuwaiti former opposition MP Mussallam al-Barrak reacts as he is cheered by supporters on 1 November 2012 after he was freed from the central prison in the Sulaibiya district of Kuwait City. (Photo: AFP PHOTO - Yasser Al-Zayyat)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Kuwait may call in the army to help security forces stop a march called by the opposition for Sunday after the government vowed to use force if necessary, the emirate's Al-Anbaa newspaper reported.
The move came after security forces used tear gas to disperse a demonstration by thousands of protesters on Wednesday, injuring more than 30 and drawing condemnation from international human rights watchdogs.
"The interior ministry will use all means necessary to prevent illegal processions," Al-Anbaa quoted a security source as saying on Saturday.
"The army and national guard may be called in if needed to deal with any breach of public order," the source added.
The opposition has called the march in Kuwait City to protest against an amendment to the electoral law ordered by emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah last month ahead of a snap December 1 parliamentary election.
Almost all opposition groups have said they will boycott the poll in protest at what they see as a bid to create a rubber stamp assembly.
The opposition, made up of Islamists, nationalists and liberals, won a February general election but the constitutional court quashed the vote in June and reinstated the previous pro-government parliament.
Kuwait introduced parliamentary elections as long ago as 1962, but the emir and the ruling Al-Sabah family continue to hold all key cabinet posts and retain enormous powers.
The opposition wants to create a constitutional monarchy and has called for an elected government and the legalization of political parties, which remain formally banned.
Opposition leaders insist they have no desire to undermine the Al-Sabah family and late on Friday pledged their loyalty to the emir while renewing their demand for the electoral law to be changed back.
Wednesday's demonstration was called to protest against the detention of opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak on charges of undermining the status of the emir. He was released on bail the following day.
An outspoken populist, Barrack enjoys support from the country's Islamists and tribal factions. He is seen to cut through tribal lines by addressing common grievances and lambasting corruption in the government.
It was the second time in 10 days that security forces had bloodily dispersed an opposition rally. On October 21, more than 100 protesters were injured as police attempted to break up a demonstration that the opposition said was the largest in Kuwait's history with more than 100,000 people taking part.
Amnesty International called on the Kuwaiti authorities on Thursday to respect the right to demonstrate.
"The Kuwaiti authorities must ensure the people of Kuwait are free to peacefully express their opinions, including about the electoral law, the elections and the emir," the human rights watchdog said.
"The security forces must abide by international policing standards and refrain from using unlawful force in response to peaceful demonstrations."

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member

Kuwait opposition demands democratic reforms

The Kuwaiti opposition pressed for a multi-party system as part of a host of political and constitutional reforms to achieve a full parliamentary system and an elected government.
In a joint statement issued Monday night and titled a "declaration to the nation," the Islamist and nationalist opposition also called for legalizing political parties, reforming the judiciary and fighting corruption.
"The proposed constitutional and political reforms aim at strengthening the principles of rationale governance and to limit the dominance of the executive authority on the political decision-making," process, said the statement.
The opposition said that the oil-rich Gulf state is passing through "the worst political phase of its modern history" citing stalled development, rife corruption, political instability and non-stop crises.
Calls for reform have increased in Kuwait since region wide Arab protests erupted in 2011 demanding an end to authoritarian rule.
The statement was approved by 35 of the 50 members of the parliament that was scrapped last month by a court ruling and strongly supported by youth activist groups and a number of civil society organizations.
The latest political crisis in Kuwait unfolded after the constitutional court last month declared February's legislative election, won by the opposition, illegal and reinstated the previous pro-government parliament.
It based its decision on the grounds that two decrees dissolving the previous parliament and calling for a fresh election, both issued in December, were found to be flawed.
The ruling also forced the government to resign on June 25 after just over four months in office. It said the move was designed to pave the way to take the necessary legal action to implement the verdict.
The opposition called for forming the new cabinet soon, dissolving the reinstated parliament and calling for fresh polls and threatened to boycott the election if the government changed the electoral law or voting system.
Kuwait was the first Arab state in the Gulf to allow limited political participation 50 years ago, but the constitution entrusts dictatorial powers to the Al-Sabah ruling family.
The opposition is demanding the legalization of political parties, which are currently banned in Kuwaiti though several groups act as defacto parties, and the winning party should form the government.
Since 1962, the government has been headed by a senior member of the Al-Sabah family, in power for the past 250 years, and whose members also normally hold the key posts of defense, interior and foreign affairs.
The OPEC member has been rocked by a series of political crises since 2006 during which the government resigned nine times and parliament was dissolved on five occasions.

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member

Liberals without Liberalism: The Kuwaiti Example

In the 2011 year of protesting against former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed, Kuwaiti liberals were many times accused of being passive towards the corruption of al-Mohammed in fear of the raising power of the conservative Popular Bloc and its Islamist allies. These accusations might not be totally warranted in the light of last year’s events considering the Liberal voting inside the parliament against the prime minister and their participation in several rallies and protests. The Liberal youth openly criticized their representatives for not being able to lead the opposition movement the way tribal Islamists have done. However, the accusation against liberals might be true in the light of the latest events.
Last December, al-Mohammed was replaced to stop the political crisis and the continuous protests against him. A new parliament was elected in February. But last month, the constitutional court decided [1] to dissolve the newly elected parliament and reinstall the previous one saying that the procedures of the dissolving decree that the Emir had issued were not constitutional and thus he needs to re-dissolve it and call for new elections. This surely enraged the conservative-Islamist majority but was welcomed by the supporters of former PM al-Mohammed.
On June 26, the parliament’s majority rallied [2] in Erada square against the court’s decision. They stated that the court and the state need to respect the nation’s decision to dissolve the previous parliament. More importantly, they took the political struggle to a whole new level by saying that they are aiming for a constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister. Since then, the discussion has shifted and political groups became obligated to comment on this demand.
Unlike the parliament’s majority, liberals found the court’s decision satisfying – saying it is protective of the constitution. However, they also called on the Emir to re-dissolve parliament and have new elections which make them stand in the grey area between those rejecting and those welcoming the court’s decision. To further clarify the liberals’ stand, leading liberal, old-money merchant, and al-Jarida newspaper’s owner Mohammed al-Saqer called for a public meeting to discuss the aftermath of the court’s decision. The meeting [3] was entitled “Kuwait.. Where To?” and was held on July 2.
In the meeting, liberal politicians spoke of many issues. They confirmed their opinion towards the court’s decision. Their ally Marzouq al-Ghanim (also of an old-money family) spoke of the political crisis as a result of the interior power struggle inside the ruling family itself. Liberals and their allies have been using this interpretation to explain political events since 2006; something that the parliament’s majority reacts to with sarcasm.
The speakers have all criticized the situation but did not demand a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister; something ironic considering how they were calling for this specific demand often few years ago. What is worth noting is that al-Ghanim, who is considered “open-minded” – as he tries to defend individual freedoms – has ironically voted in favor of the blasphemy [4] death law last month and was heavily criticized by his liberal supporters for it.
The liberals, clearly, are afraid to call for such a change in the system. They witnessed how the Popular Bloc and Islamists strongly won the last elections and do not wish to extend their power to the seat of the prime minister. It is true that such a political majority does threaten individual freedoms considering their attempts to Islamize laws. What the liberals fear as well is to allow a change to the constitution. Liberals have been defending the constitution blindly saying it is perfect. In reality they have critiques of it but do not wish to see it changed once in fear of seeing it changed negatively in other cases. Simply, liberals are against any positive change in the system if it will make their enemies more powerful, even if by popular choice.
Where does this leave liberals standing? Well, they will have better chances in the coming elections as their high class/liberal voting base feels more intimidated by the parliament’s majority. Surely, those chances are by no means big enough to create a radical change but they might become so if they make the right alliances; something that I do not see them capable of making anytime soon. Yes, they are liberal enough to defend women rights, but surely not liberal enough to call for more power to the people!

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member

Kuwait City on 'lockdown' ahead of mass protest


Protesters run from tear gas during a demonstration against proposed changes to election laws in Kuwait City on 21 October 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Published Sunday, November 4, 2012
Military vehicles began moving into Kuwait City Sunday afternoon in anticipation for an anti-government demonstration later in the evening, an Al-Akhbar correspondent said.
He added that employees in the capital were told to leave work early Sunday as security forces prepared to put the city on lockdown.
Tens of thousands are expected to defy a government ban on Sunday night’s opposition-led demonstration which has been called to demand the repeal of a new voting rule that favors pro-government candidates in parliamentary elections.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs warned Sunday that participating in unsanctioned demonstrations violates sharia, or Islamic law.
It is the latest in a series of demonstrations that were put down violently by riot police since the emir of Kuwait, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, dissolved Parliament last month and amended the election law.
The opposition, a coalition of Islamists and tribal factions, have vowed to boycott the December 1 Parliamentary elections unless the government reverses its changes to the law.
Several key opposition leaders have been arrested over their roles in past demonstrations.
The al-Sabah family has ruled Kuwait for over 250 years. The emir, crown prince, prime minister and key cabinet ministers all hail from the ruling family.

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member

Published on Al Akhbar English (

Kuwait’s Bahraini Scenario

By Mona Kareem - Fri, 2012-11-02 13:16- The Subaltern
Following the recent arrest of Kuwaiti opposition front man Musalam al-Barrak, one can only wonder what the authorities think they’re doing. Is this an act of political suicide for the small Gulf emirate, which has always bragged about its relative democracy [1]? Barrak’s was not the first arrest of former opposition MPs on charges of defaming the Emir of Kuwait – an act criminalized by the country’s 1962 constitution.
This Tuesday, faced with charges of defaming the Emir, the authorities and the Kuwaiti Emirate, Barrak denied the accusations. On October 15, Barrak rocked Kuwait with a speech [2] he gave at Erada Square in which he addressed the Emir directly. “We will not allow you,” he said addressing the head of the state. The sentence has become a slogan for the opposition; it was later used in social media campaigns and in the October 22 “Dignity March [3].” Such challenging statements have not been uttered against Kuwaiti authorities and, specifically, against the Emir since the Gulf War. The sentence marked a new phase in the opposition’s power struggle with the Emir – rather than just his cabinet.
Surely, the Kuwaiti opposition’s actions are often contradictory; they claim to protect the constitution, while failing to grasp that their salvation is not embedded in the text. The constitution technically ensures numerous rights that are violated by the authorities, as it still leaves space for censorship and restrictions against the government’s opponents. This inconsistency in the opposition’s performance and rhetoric is the strongest argument wielded against the opposition, not only by the authorities but also by loyal tribes, Shia and liberals.
But where can the authorities really go with these arrests? What comes next, after the arrest of the man who received the largest number of votes in the country’s history? Some Kuwaitis have been drawing comparisons between Kuwait and Bahrain, perhaps in an exaggerated manner. However, a Bahraini scenario is not too far-fetched at this very moment. If the authorities are choosing to provoke a power struggle solely to portray it as a clash between Saudi-rooted tribes and the ruling family, then this may well be Kuwait’s Bahraini scenario.
The tribes of Kuwait surely do not suffer the same level of discrimination as the Shia in Bahrain; they hold some positions of power and enjoy good historical relationships with the ruling family. In fact, after the latest protest, heads of the tribes met with the Emir to restate their loyalty to him. The tribes, however, are feared and discriminated against by the old-money class who wield power both in the economy and politics. The tribal movement is also empowered through its alliance with the Islamists and the support of an enthusiastic youth who are demanding more say by having an elected prime minister.
Earlier this year, the Emir responded well to opposition calls by dissolving parliament and replacing Prime Minister Nasser al-Mohammed, who was at the center of the clash between authorities and the opposition. Everyone believed that Kuwait was headed on the right path toward reforms. The opposition’s demands following their electoral victory in February were too stark; asking for ministers to be selected by a parliamentary majority was too threatening. In June, the crisis reached new heights when the Emir decided to suspend parliament for two months (another right afforded to him by the constitution). Later, the constitutional court inflamed the country with its decision to dissolve parliament amid claims that the procedures for dissolving the previous parliament were not performed legally.
The Kuwaiti authorities are simply failing to realize the dangerous implications of their actions; the more oppression they practice, the more power they grant to the opposition. The authorities are surely fearful of how far the opposition can go with its demands every time they’re permitted more space and dealt with diplomatically. Unfortunately, the authorities have made their choice already by making this a clash with tribes; it is the classical mentality of ‘divide and conquer.’


Legendary Member
Shia minority scores big win in Kuwaiti polls
Kuwait's Shia minority has won for the first time more than a third of the 50 parliamentary seats in polls boycotted by the opposition which declared the new assembly "illegitimate" due to poor voter turnout.

According to official results released on Sunday, the Shias - who form around 30 per cent of Kuwait's native population of 1.2 million - won 17 seats compared with seven they won in the scrapped 2012 parliament and nine in the 2009 house.

Three women were elected to the new parliament compared to four in 2009, according to figures released by the National Election Commission.

The new house includes as many as 30 new faces as leading members of the opposition stayed away from the polls.

Sunni Islamists were reduced to a small minority of four MPs compared with as many as 23 in the house elected in February.


The opposition said the boycott was very successful as a majority of voters stayed home, and described the election as "unconstitutional."

"Based on statistics compiled by the opposition, the voter turnout was 26.7 per cent," said former MP Khaled al-Sultan at the end of an emergency meeting by the opposition after the ballots closed.

The information ministry website, however, reported that turnover was 38.8 per cent and opposition youth groups reported lower percentages.

Veteran opposition leader Ahmad al-Saadoun said the "election is unconstitutional," while several other former MPs called on Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to repeal the disputed amendment.

Voting passed off without any incident despite high political tension between the Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition and the government led by the Al-Sabah ruling family.

The vote, the second in 10 months, came nearly two months after the emir dissolved a pro-government parliament following its reinstatement in June by a court ruling.

Calls for the boycott were instigated in protest to the government's unilateral amendment of the electoral law ahead of the polls.

The opposition claimed the action enabled the government to manipulate the outcome of polls.

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
Kuwait Unrest

Kuwait jails activist for five years over Twitter remarks


US-backed Kuwaiti royal family has launched a widespread crackdown on dissent in the country. (Photo: AFP - Yasser al-Zayyat)

February 3, 2013
Kuwait's lower court on Sunday sentenced an opposition youth activist to five years in jail "with immediate effect" for insulting the emir on Twitter, a rights group said.
"The court passed the maximum jail term against Mohammad Eid al-Ajmi for insulting the emir on Twitter," the director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights, Mohammad al-Humaidi, told AFP.
The ruling is not final as it will be appealed, but Ajmi will begin serving the sentence immediately, Humaidi said.
Ajmi is the third opposition youth activist to be convicted for insulting the emir on Twitter. Last month the same court sentenced two tweeters to two years each in jail each on the same charge.
Ayyad al-Harbi and Rashed al-Enezi are both in prison as they await appeals court rulings on their cases.
Humaidi said a large number of youth activists are on trial on similar charges, with verdicts expected in the coming weeks.
The US-backed monarchy has stepped up efforts in recent months to crack down on citizens who use the Internet to express opinions the government deems offensive.
In June 2012, a man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was convicted of endangering state security by insulting the Prophet Mohammad and the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on social media.
Two months later, authorities detained Sheikh Meshaal al-Malik Al-Sabah, a member of the ruling family, over remarks on Twitter in which he accused authorities of corruption and called for political reform.
The criminal court is also scheduled to issue its verdict on Tuesday against three former opposition MPs for criticizing the emir at a public rally on October 10.
Criticizing the emir is illegal in Kuwait and is considered a state security charge. Those convicted of the offence face up to five years in jail.
The opposition has been staging regular demonstrations in protest at an amendment of the electoral law and the subsequent holding of a parliamentary election on December 1 on the basis of the amended legislation.
The opposition held a public rally late Saturday to express solidarity with Twitter users and former MPs on trial for expressing their opinion.
The Sabah family has ruled Kuwait for over 250 years. The emir, crown prince, prime minister and key cabinet ministers all hail from the ruling family.
Kuwait jails activist over Twitter posts


Kuwaiti riot police raise their batons at a Kuwaiti opposition protester during an anti-government demonstration in Kuwait City on 6 January 2013. (Photo: AFP - Yasser al-Zayyet)
Kuwait City on 'lockdown' ahead of mass protest


Protesters run from tear gas during a demonstration against proposed changes to election laws in Kuwait City on 21 October 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member
Kingdoms of Loathing: Kuwait & Bahrain step up crackdown on opposition


J. Abizeid

Well-Known Member

Gulf forces begin war drills amid unrest


Bahraini protesters flash victory-signs during an anti-government rally on 9 February 2013 in the village of Al Muqsha, west of the Bahraini capital Manama. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed al-Shaikh)

February 10, 2013

Joint Gulf forces began a 17-day exercise in Kuwait on Sunday amid escalating tensions across the region, as officials claimed the war games were not related to unrest.
"The exercise was pre-scheduled and agreed for years. It is unrelated to any regional or political events," the head of Kuwaiti army public relations, Brigadier Abdulaziz al-Rayes, was cited as saying by the KUNA news agency.
The Peninsula Shield force was formed by the six GCC member states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – in 1982 as a 5,000-strong force but has since expanded to more than 30,000 troops.
The main part of the exercise will take place in the Kuwaiti desert, but naval and air forces will also feature in the manoeuvres slated to end on February 26, coinciding with Kuwait's national day celebrations.
Rayes did not give details of troop numbers taking part, but did say the exercise would include units from Kuwait's national guard and the interior ministry.
Kuwait marks its 51st independence from Britain on February 25 and the 22nd anniversary of liberation from seven months of Iraqi occupation on February 26 in which units from the Peninsula Shield took part.
Two years ago, Peninsula Shield troops were sent to Bahrain where they helped crush a popular uprising against the island’s tyrannical monarch. More than 80 people were killed by security forces since the uprising erupted in February 2011.
Kuwait has also witnessed street protests in the past several months by opposition groups calling for the dissolution of the pro-government parliament elected on December 1 after the emir amended a controversial electoral law. A number of activists have been jailed over the past few months in Kuwait for criticizing the emir.
Omani authorities have arrested and jailed dozens of activists who have spoken out against the government. Local media reported Sunday that 17 jailed cyber activists have launched a hunger strike to protest delays in their judicial proceedings.
Saudi Arabia has also clamped down drown on anti-government protesters who have been taking to the streets en masse in the eastern Qatif district calling for the overthrow of the ruling family. Authorities have shot dead a number of unarmed demonstrators over the past couple of years.
(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

ecce homo

Well-Known Member
Kuwaiti court gives woman 11 years in jail for insulting emir

KUWAIT (Reuters) - A Kuwaiti court sentenced a woman teacher to a total of 11 years in jail on Monday for insulting the emir, inciting regime change and insulting a religious sect via Twitter, two sources close to the case said.

Huda al-Ajmi, 37, is the first woman known to have been convicted for criticizing the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state's ruler, described as "immune and inviolable" in the constitution.

Kuwait has penalized several Twitter users in recent months for slurs against the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. The political trials have drawn rebuke abroad and anger at home.

The sources said the court had given Ajmi two consecutive five-year terms for insulting the emir and one year for insulting an unspecified religious sect. "This is the highest sentence of its kind in these kinds of cases," one source said.

Ajmi has not yet been taken into custody and can appeal the sentences, the sources said. It is rare for a woman to serve jail time for political crimes in Kuwait, which allows more freedom of speech than some other Gulf Arab states.

In April a Kuwaiti court gave an opposition politician five years in jail for insulting the emir, but an appeals court overturned the sentence.

In February, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said prosecutors had charged nearly 25 people with offending the emir, sentencing at least six to jail terms, since October.

The United States has called on Kuwait to respect freedom of expression.