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Acquitted Kuwaiti politician Dashti to contest in elections
October 25, 2016, 5:41 pm

The Administrative Court in Kuwait on Tuesday allowed former lawmaker Abdul Hameed Dashti to file his application to contest next month’s parliamentary elections through proxy.

The elections department on Sunday turned down the application presented by his son Talal, arguing that proxy filing was not allowed and that a candidate had to be physically present to have his papers accepted. Dashti has been out of Kuwait since March ostensibly to receive medical treatment abroad.

The controversial lawmaker had been condemned to prison for insulting Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the judiciary in Kuwait. In late September, a court in Kuwait acquitted Dashti in the case filed against him for insulting Saudi Arabia.

In its verdict, the criminal court said that Article 4 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, Kuwaiti media reported.

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, facing several trials, had left Kuwait months ago after he took leave of absence for eight weeks.

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

Six days into the registration process, 291 people, including nine women, have signed up to contest in the elections on November 26. More names are expected to be registered as the Friday deadline for the registration process looms.

Activists are hoping more women would join in the battle to assert themselves and boost the political empowerment that was launched in 2005 and led to the election of four women to the parliament in 2009.

However, the momentum was subsequently lost as women had to do with formidable social challenges that prevented them from winning even though women voters outnumber men. The poll next month is likely to be among the most contested in the country’s history with the return of the opposition to the urns following the decision to end their boycott.

Several former lawmakers have already submitted their applications and raised the stakes by announcing they would repeal some of the laws passed by the outgoing parliament elected in 2013 and dissolved in October.

Source: Gulf News

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