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Kuwait court acquits lawmaker in insult case
September 29, 2016, 11:02 am

 A court in Kuwait has acquitted MP Abdul Hameed Dashti in a new case filed against him for insulting Saudi Arabia. In its verdict, the criminal court said that Article Four of the State Security Law regarding acts of hostility could not be applied in the case, arguing that the defendant expressed an opinion and did not carry out an action, a local daily Al Jareeda reported on Thursday.

Under Kuwait’s laws, individuals convicted of hostile act against a foreign country that may expose Kuwait to war or the severance of diplomatic relations, are put on trial and may be sent to jail.

The ruling was pronounced in absentia as the controversial lawmaker who has been facing several trials for insults had left Kuwait months ago after he took leave of absence for eight weeks, citing medical reasons. In April, he said he was undergoing medical treatment in Britain and presented a medical report to the Kuwaiti embassy in London.

Dashti was in July and September sentenced to a total of 25 years after he faced a series of trials for using social media and the media to attack Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

On July 27, he was sentenced in absentia to 11 years and six months in prison with labour for insulting Saudi Arabia, criticising religion and insulting the judiciary and to three years for insulting Bahrain.

On September 22, he was sentenced to 14 years for his attacks. In August, Kuwaiti authorities launched the procedures to have the Interpol add the name of Dashti to the list of wanted people.

The move by Interpol Kuwait came after the public prosecution gave its approval following the lifting of the lawmaker’s parliamentary immunity. The Kuwaiti parliament had lifted his immunity following requests from the foreign ministry and the public prosecution.

Under the Kuwaiti law, the lawmaker has the right to challenge all the rulings against him before the criminal court, but he needs to go home to engage the procedure.

Last month, Saud Al Hejailan, the head of the National Popular Movement, said that the government should revoke Dashti’s citizenship, arguing that he was causing serious harm to the country.

“Kuwait should not in any way assume the responsibility of his dangerous remarks,” he said. “This person cannot go on using media platforms to insult Saudi Arabia while he carried the Kuwaiti nationality. His citizenship must be revoked immediately so that Kuwait is not associated with his dangerous remarks.”

Source: Gulf News

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