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MENAFN - Arab Times - 30/01/2013

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(MENAFN - Arab Times) The Misdemeanor Court postponed until Feb 11 the hearing on a state security case against Musallam Al-Barrak upon the request of the former lawmaker's defense team.

Al-Barrak was charged with undermining the status of HH the Amir of Kuwait and challenging his constitutional prerogatives, as well as verbally abusing the ruling family at a seminar in Al-Erada Square on Oct 15.

The Justice Palace on Monday was packed with supporters of the high-profile oppositionist ex-MP for the hearing, after which they lifted Al-Barrak on their shoulders and shouted slogans in his praise. Special Forces were also deployed around the premises.

At the previous session, Al-Barrak had pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him by the Public Prosecution. The court also listened to the testimonies of the prosecution officer and the lawmaker was cross-examined by the court and defense team.

Earlier, the Public Prosecution ordered the detention of Al-Barrak for 10 days, but he appealed the decision at the Court of First Instance and was released on KD 10,000 bail.

Agencies add:
Dozens of Kuwaiti activists staged an unprecedented protest Monday outside the courtroom where opposition leader and former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak was being tried on charges of insulting the Amir.
"Jail us in place of Mussallam Al-Barrak," chanted the activists who were prevented entry into the small courtroom in the Palace of Justice in the heart of wait City.

"Mussallam ... you are the conscience of the whole nation."

It was the first time ever that a protest has taken place inside the Palace of Justice in Kuwait. Police did not interfere in the demonstration, which passed off peacefully.

Barrak is being tried on charges of insulting the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state when he made remarks at a public rally on Oct 15 deemed offensive to the Amir.

Activists carried Barrak as he came from the room and continued shouting slogans.

"On your behalf and on behalf of the nation, I declare that this (protest) movement will continue. Jails, batons and tear gas cannons will not stop us," Barrak told the crowd just outside the Palace of Justice.
"We are not against the regime but against corruption ... This is a war against corruption and corrupt people ... who are trying to steal the future of Kuwait," he said.

"It's time that people are allowed to manage their affairs through an elected government."

Thamer Al-Jadaei, Barrak's main lawyer in the 40-strong team, said the court set the next hearing for Feb 11 to hear the final defence arguments.

If the court convicts Barrak, he faces a jail term of up to five years.

The court is slated to issue its verdict on February 5 against three former opposition MPs who face similar charges.

Earlier this month, the court sentenced two opposition youth activists to two years in jail each for making tweets deemed insulting to the Amir. Dozens of other tweeters face similar charges.

Kuwait's opposition has been staging protests to demand the dissolution of Parliament elected last month on the basis of an electoral law that was amended by the Amir.

The opposition claims that the change is not legal and is aimed at electing a rubber stamp Parliament.


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