Kuwait opposition leader held ‘for insulting judges’

July 03, 2014 - 5:39:31 am
Supporters of Kuwaiti opposition leader and former parliament member Mussallam Al Barrak gather outside the police headquarters where he is being questioned for alleged slander and insults to the supreme judicial council, early yesterday in Kuwait City. 

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s public prosecutor yesterday ordered opposition leader Mussallam Al Barrak to be held in custody after he was questioned for allegedly insulting the judiciary, his lawyer said. “The public prosecutor decided to detain him pending further questioning later today,” Humoud Al Hajeri wrote on Twitter after Barrak was questioned for several hours overnight.

Mohammad Al Jassem, another lawyer for the former MP, said his client was questioned for alleged slander and insults to the supreme judicial council and its chairman, Faisal Al Marshed.

Dozens of activists and former opposition MPs gathered outside the police headquarters where Barrak was held as opposition groups called for a public rally in Kuwait City later Wednesday.

Barrak was questioned over two lawsuits filed by the judicial council and Marshed over remarks he made at a June 10 public rally that were deemed offensive.

He had claimed that former senior officials including members of the ruling family had stolen tens of billions of dollars from public funds and engaged in money laundering.

Barrak, who also criticised the judiciary, charged that the former officials had deposited the funds in foreign banks including one in Israel. The scandal was later linked to claims that the same officials were seen in video footage plotting a coup.

Those allegations were made in a lawsuit filed last month by Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Sabah, a senior ruling family member and former energy minister.

The claims plunged the oil-rich Gulf state into a political crisis that prompted the emir to call for calm and let the judiciary handle the issue. Before being questioned, Barrak said the public prosecutor was not impartial because he is on the judicial council which sued him.AFP