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MENAFN - Arab Times - 01/11/2012

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Police cars surround the Palace of Justice to prevent protesters demanding the release of former MP Mussalam Al-Barrak from reaching the premises.
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Following the arrest of noted former opposition MP and national figure Musallam Al-Barrak on Monday afternoon, for allegedly insulting HH the Amir, various political figures, oppositional and pro-government, expressed their views regarding the matter.

It is likely that the arrest of such a prominent figure from the 2012 Parliament, who was behind some of the harshest criticisms of the government, and a leading force behind recent protests, will spark further anger amongst an already tense audience, particularly after the arrest of several other oppositional MPs.
In an official statement, Ahmed Al-Dayeen, General Coordinator at the National Front for the Protection of the Constitution and the Achieve-ment of Political Reforms, stated that "The arrest of prominent national figure Musallam Al-Barrak, who has been detained now by State Security forces is another episode in the series of security pursuits of opposition members under a legal blanket. This trend has grown recently, and come to include a number of former MPs and tens of loyal patriotic youths, who commit no faults or crimes other than their choice to defend their Constitution, and their rejection of the recurrent violations by those in power.

"And in light of the arbitrary nature of the practices that have targeted other former MPs during their detention period, we warn those in power of using any such arbitrariness in dealing with our brother Musallam Al-Barrak, and we call for those in power to abide by that which is dictated by Article 34 of the Constitution, which prohibits physically or psychological harm against suspects, and places full responsibility on the Minister of Interior for guaranteeing the suspect's safety during the detention period," continued Al-Dayeen.

"In addition, we hope that the Public Prosecution will take the initiative to speed up the process of releasing national figure Musallam Al-Barrak."

Many see Al-Barrak as one of the fathers of the oppositional movement, and he has even been dubbed by some as "the conscience of the nation", with his statement to H.H. the Amir saying "we will not allow you" becoming one of the most popular chants amongst the opposition during previous rallies and protests.

However, for many, the arrest of Al-Barrak is no more than routine procedure for someone who has broken the law, and many pro-government MPs expressed ambivalence or sheer lack of concern over his arrest. For some, the move was met with approval.

Former MP Nabil Fadl stated to the Arab Times that "This is simply the application of law, on a citizen like any other citizen. Mussalam Al-Barrak is a citizen who broke the law. There is nothing problematic about this."

Furthermore, there is much speculation as to the official reasons behind his arrest, with rumours and hearsay putting forth claims that Al-Barrak has been fraternising with the Muslim Brotherhood in order to overturn the government. He currently remains in questioning, and it is unclear what will result of his case, and whether he will be released on bail, as other former MPs have.

Upon being arrested, Al-Barrak stated that he would go willingly, but that he "refused to take back anything he had said on the square of dignity, willpower (Erada) and respect."


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