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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Kuwait frees dozens on bail over 2011 parliament storming

 A judge has ordered those imprisoned over protesters storming parliament in 2011 to be freed on bail pending their appeal before the country's highest court

Kuwaiti opposition leader Musallam Al Barrack celebrates with supporters in Kuwait City on April 20, 2015, following his release on bail ahead of a final ruling on charges he insulted the country's ruler. AP
Kuwaiti opposition leader Musallam Al Barrack celebrates with supporters in Kuwait City on April 20, 2015, following his release on bail ahead of a final ruling on charges he insulted the country's ruler. AP

A judge in Kuwait on Sunday ordered 44 people sentenced for their involvement in the 2011 storming of the country’s parliament to be freed on bail pending their appeal before the country's highest court.

Among those released were current and former members of parliament, including current opposition MP Jumaan Al Harbash and former opposition MP Musallam Al Barrak, both of whom had been imprisoned since the end of November last year.

“Our issue to be free is a testament to our innocence, and the fact that what we do, we do for Kuwait and our love for the country,” said Al Barrak, standing outside the Court of Cassation in Kuwait City, which issued the bail order.

The former parliamentarian returned to Kuwait from Saudi Arabia in November, two months after the country’s highest court sentenced him to seven years in prison over charges of “using force and inciting unrest”.

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Among those sentenced for the 2011 parliament storming were eight former MPs and two currently serving in the parliament, most of whom surrendered themselves before the deadline to begin their sentence in December.

Another 25 people have been at large since receiving prison sentences of between 3 and 7 years last year.

The imprisoned defendants had been behind bars for 84 days before Sunday's bail order, with several going on hunger strikes.

Judge Saleh Al Muraishid set the next hearing in the case for March 4.

On November 16, 2011, demonstrators and opposition MPs stormed Kuwait's parliament building demanding that the then prime minister step down. Once inside they occupied the main chamber and sang the national anthem before leaving a short time later.

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