x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Kuwaiti minister to quit after prisoner's death

MPs say man arrested for selling alcohol was tortured in police station until he died.

KUWAIT CITY // The minister of interior offered his resignation yesterday because a Kuwaiti who died in police custody allegedly had been tortured, a government source said.

"The minister today submitted his resignation to the prime minister who can accept or reject it," the source told Agence France-Presse, requesting anonymity.

The minister, Sheikh Jaber Khaled al Sabah, could not be reached for comment. Yesterday, the ministry said a medical commission investigating the death of Mohammed al Mutairi, a Kuwaiti who died after being arrested for selling alcoholic drinks, proved the suspicion of criminality.

The ministry has referred the case and parties involved to the public prosecution, the statement said. It said it had ordered an investigation into inaccurate information in a preceding statement.

The minister had come under pressure from members of parliament, who accused him of lying, in the national assembly on Wednesday.

Sheikh Jaber told MPs that the man had attacked police officers with a "sharp tool" and a stick.

A statement from the ministry said the defendant was arrested on Saturday and had confessed to his crime. It said he was taken to Kuwait Oil Company's hospital in Ahmadi after complaining of a pain in his chest. He died there.

Members of parliament said he died on Tuesday. He was tortured until he died, Hussein Mizyed, an MP, said in parliament. "They put a stick in his anus. This is the worst crime I have ever seen."

Khaled Sultan, another parliamentarian, said: "That person died in the police station" where he was tortured. "Maybe he's a bad person who sold liquor, but there is a law to prosecute him."

"Who is secure now?" he asked, answering: "No one is secure".

The ministry said it had formed two committees to investigate and parliament formed another.

Sheikh Jaber, a senior member of the ruling family, has been under increased pressure from MPs since police violently dispersed a gathering of citizens and politicians in December.

jcalderwood@thenational.ae