x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 February 2018

Kuwait MPs sentenced to jail for 2011 parliament storming

Among those sentenced were eight former MPs and two currently serving in the National Assembly, according to the state Kuwait News Agency (Kuna)

Supporters celebrate with opposition leader Musallam Al Barrack in Kuwait City on April 20, 2015 after his release on bail ahead of a final decision on charges he insulted the country's ruler. AP
Supporters celebrate with opposition leader Musallam Al Barrack in Kuwait City on April 20, 2015 after his release on bail ahead of a final decision on charges he insulted the country's ruler. AP

Current and former Kuwaiti MPs were among the around 66 defendants sentenced to up to five years in jail on Monday for convictions related to the storming of the country's parliament in 2011.

Among those sentenced were eight former MPs and two currently serving in the National Assembly, according to the state Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).

Opposition MP Jumaan Al Harbash said on Twitter that he would rather be in jail than be a traitor, suggesting that he was one of those sentenced. It was not clear who the other MP might be.

Former MP and opposition leader Musallam Al Barrack was among those sentenced on Monday for his involvement in the 2011 storming of the parliament. He was released from prison after serving a sentence for another conviction earlier this year.

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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Some 28 defendants were sentenced to up to five years behind bars with hard labour for "the use of force and inciting unrest" during the parliament storming, according to Kuna.

Meanwhile, 23 others were given prison sentences of three years and six months with hard labour for "violent and criminal actions".

The court slapped two-year terms on five others accused of "mobbing and assaulting police officers", while another 10 defendants were given one-year terms.

Two defendants were acquitted, however, while indictment proceedings against another suspect were terminated due to his death.

Many of Kuwait’s stateless citizens began protesting against their lack of rights in the country in 2011 amid Arab Spring protests across the Middle East. Opposition leaders then followed up with their own protests, demanding the resignation of then prime minister Nasser Al Sabah.