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Kuwait: Musallam Al Barrak Turns Himself In

Kuwait: Musallam Al Barrak Turns Himself In

Sunday, 21 January, 2018 - 11:30
Kuwaiti lawmaker Musallam al-Barrak gestures while speaking to journalists at Parliament's media center in Kuwait City November 20, 2011. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Kuwaiti authorities detained former member of Kuwaiti parliament (National Assembly) and member of the opposition Musallam al-Barrak upon his arrival in the country through Nuwaisib land border with Saudi Arabia.

In light of reports stating that Kuwait may apply for extradition, Barrak chose to turn himself in before the legal deadline to challenge his sentence issued by the Court of Cassation. This comes 50 days after Court of Appeal ordered the imprisonment of Barrak and other deputies along with 67 other defendants in the case of forcible entry into the National Assembly in November 2011.

Sentences against the defendants, including deputies, ranged from one to seven years in prison. The court sentenced former MP Barrak to seven years in prison.

Other than Barrak, three current deputies are also sentenced: Juman al-Harbash and Waleed al-Tabtabai (sentenced to 7 years each) and MP Mohammed al-Mutair (one year). The sentence also included former MPs MubarakaAl-Waalan, Salem al-Namlan, Faisal al-Musallam, Khalid al-Tahous, each sentenced to 5 years, and former MP Mohammed al-Khalifa to three years.

As soon as he arrived at the crossing point, Barrak was arrested by Kuwaiti security forces, while lawyers say that he could have appealed to the Court of Cassation, but the court will not accept the appeal unless he turns himself in. However, Barrak left Kuwait to Saudi Arabia before the verdict.

Before arriving at the crossing point, Barrak recorded a video saying he was on his way to Kuwait to turn himself in to execute the court sentence which he described as "political."

In November 2011, demonstrators and opposition MPs stormed Kuwait's parliament building demanding that the then prime minister step down, and they occupied the main chamber and sang the national anthem before leaving a short time later.

Despite the resignation of PM Sheikh Nasser days after the incident and the appointment of Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah as his successor, the issue has been in the courts, where the Court of First Instance acquitted the deputies and activists in December 2013.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah described the incident as "Black Wednesday", saying that those responsible for attacking the security men will be held accountable.

Barrak can appeal the ruling before the Court of Cassation.

Kuwaiti constitutional expert Muhammad al-Faily explained that the issuance of a penal judgment by the Court of Appeal makes it enforceable in itself. He added to Asharq Al-Awsat that an appeal before the Court of Cassation does not stop the enforcement of ruling unless a request was submitted to the cassation judge to halt the sentence from coming into force.

On April 20, 2017, Kuwaiti authorities released Barrak, after two years in prison on charges of insulting and undermining the status of the Emir during a seminar organized by the Kuwaiti opposition forces in 2012.

On 15 April 2013, Court of First Instance sentenced Barrack to five years' imprisonment on charges of insulting the Emir On April 22, 2013, the judge of the Court of Appeal ordered the suspension of the sentence provisionally pending dismissal of the appeal. He was released from prison on 20 April 2017.

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