Middle East

Kuwait detains ex-MP critical of Sisi visit: lawyer

In a handout picture released by the by the Emiri Diwan in Kuwait, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (L), speaks with the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah during a meeting in Kuwait City on January 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO/EMIRI DIWAN/HO

Kuwait City: Authorities in Kuwait have detained a former liberal opposition lawmaker for allegedly insulting the Gulf state's ruler and criticizing a visit by the Egyptian president, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Prosecutors detained Saleh al-Mulla after questioning him on Tuesday night about comments made on Twitter, lawyer Abdullah al-Ahmad told AFP.

Ahmad said his client was told the comments were deemed "offensive" to Kuwait's emir and "humiliating" for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who concluded a two-day visit to Kuwait on Tuesday.

Mulla was accused of threatening Kuwaiti-Egyptian relations by criticizing Sisi, the lawyer said.

In his tweets, Mulla repeatedly urged Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah not to give more financial aid to Sisi. In one tweet, he said any money given to Sisi should be taken back by Kuwaitis.

Kuwait along with other Gulf states backed Sisi following the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Morsi in July 2013. It has offered Cairo aid worth some $4 billion.

Mulla was a member of parliament for several years before he boycotted elections in December 2012 in protest against the government's amendment of the electoral law.

Other opposition activists had launched an online campaign against Sisi's visit, urging authorities not to give more funds to Egypt.

Ahmad said there was no legal justification for Mulla's detention and demanded his immediate release.

Kuwaiti courts have handed down prison sentences to several opposition activists and former lawmakers for remarks deemed insulting to the emir.

The latest ruling was issued on Monday when the supreme court sentenced activist Sager al-Hashash to 20 months in prison on charges of insulting the emir on Twitter.

Criticizing the emir in Kuwait is considered a state security offence, with those found guilty facing up to five years behind bars.





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