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Drama at Barak trial
December 31, 2013, 1:31 am
The first hearing of former opposition MP Musallam Al-Barrak in the court of appeals was full of drama yesterday as the state security officer who probed the case collapsed during cross-examination and the court may summon Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to testify in the high-profile case. Barrak, one of the opposition’s leading figures, is on trial on charges of insulting HH the Amir and undermining his authority in a speech at a public rally in October last year. Earlier this year, Barrak was sentenced to five years in jail by the criminal court. The sentence was scrapped over illegal procedures by the appeals court which decided to take over the trial itself.
Barrak’s defense team surrounded the state security officer who investigated the case and sent the charge sheet to the public prosecution to press the case in court. The officer, who refused to provide his civil ID or name, said he obtained the recording of Barrak’s speech on a compact disk (CD) from a secret informer and that no one from the state security was officially assigned to attend the rally. He also told the court that he did not know if the provided CD was tampered with or not and at one stage was ordered by judge Anwar Al-Enezi to answer the defense questions because he declined to answer most of them. At one stage, the officer collapsed and was unconscious for a while and the hearing was briefly adjourned.
After the session, Barrak said the officer, who is supposed to be a prosecution witness, was “like a witness who did not see anything”, adding that the court has agreed that the defense team calls the prime minister and commerce and industry minister Anas Al-Saleh to testify in the next hearing set for Feb 17.
In a related development, the Opposition Coalition, an organization that has a majority of the opposition groups and leading individuals under its umbrella, said yesterday it has completed the blueprint of a comprehensive political reforms draft. The draft has been sent to all the components of the coalition who were asked to make their comments and observations on it and send it back by Jan 6 as the coalition plans to release it at a public meeting on Jan 16. The reform draft is expected to call for wide-ranging democratic reforms in the country including the call for amending the constitution, having an elected government and expanding freedoms.
In the meantime, MP Safa Al-Hashem continued her sharp criticism of the prime minister, declaring that whatever the type of the government he will form, he will not succeed like what happened with his previous governments. The lawmaker called on the premier to apply the law strictly, “otherwise the consequences will be very negative for him and the government”.
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