April 15, 2013 11:02 am

Kuwaiti politician jailed for emir comment

Reuters

KUWAIT, April 15 (Reuters) - A prominent Kuwaiti opposition politician was sentenced to five years in jail on Monday for insulting the country’s ruler, his lawyer said.

The court found Musallam al-Barrak, an outspoken former member of parliament, guilty of insulting Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah in a speech in October last year in which he appealed to the emir to avoid “autocratic rule”.

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Although Opec member and US ally Kuwait has avoided the kind of mass pro-democracy unrest seen in other Arab countries, tensions have mounted between former parliament members and the government, dominated by the Al-Sabah family.

Barrak’s lawyer Mohammed Abdulqader al-Jassem said the defence team was considering filing an appeal against the sentence issued by the criminal court.

Dozens of supporters had gathered at Barrak’s family guest house and his followers were considering organising a march later in the day to protest against the decision, according to activists on Twitter.

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