First Published: 2017-04-21

Kuwaiti opposition leader freed from prison
Prominent opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak walks out of Kuwait's central prison to frenzied reception after serving two years for insulting emir.
Middle East Online

Former lawmaker openly critiqued the government upon regaining freedom.

KUWAIT CITY - Prominent Kuwaiti opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak was released from prison Friday after serving a two-year sentence for insulting the emir in public.

Barrak, 61, walked out of Kuwait's central prison to a frenzied reception by hundreds of his relatives and supporters who broke through tight fences and surrounded his vehicle.

The former lawmaker, who served six consecutive terms from 1999 to 2012, openly critiqued the government upon regaining freedom.

"One day I said and I repeat: History will jail those who sent me to jail," Barrak shouted to the cheering crowd.

In February 2015, Barrak was sentenced to two years in prison for comments he had made at a public rally in 2012 which undermined the status of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

Barrak had been protesting changes to the kingdom's electoral law which he argued would allow authorities to manipulate election results. He has denied that his speech amounted to undermining the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state.

He is the most senior, and the most popular, opposition leader to be jailed in an unprecedented government crackdown on dissent in the kingdom.

Dozens of opposition activists in Kuwait are either in jail or are facing trial for insulting the emir, including via social media.

 

Saudi, allies unveil Qatar 'terrorist' blacklist

Israel dismantles metal detectors from holy site

Trump says Syrian rebel aid program was 'dangerous and wasteful'

Iran gets more involved in Iraq militarily

600,000 Yemenis expected to contract cholera in 2017

14 Saudis face ‘imminent’ unfair execution says Amnesty

Rival Libyan leaders hold talks in France

Amnesty International urges EU to 'reset' Turkey relations

Erdogan urges Muslims to ‘protect’ Jerusalem

US sanctions protecting Iranian tech sector

Where Afghanistan is heading and what it means for the Arab Gulf

Air strike kills civilians in Syria despite truce

278 Europe-bound migrants rescued off Libya

Beirut, the upcoming start-up hub in MENA region

Cardinal hails 'rebirth' of Iraqi Christian town

Top UN delegation visits crisis-hit Yemen

Trump aide due in Israel to ease holy site tensions

Libya’s coastguard rescues 150 Europe-bound migrants

EU warns Turkey economy at risk in Germany row

Saudi crown prince takes temporary charge

Israel strikes Gaza after missile across border

Hezbollah says fight on Syria border ‘nearing end’

Staff of Turkey opposition paper stand trial

Tehran’s judiciary chief accuses US of jailing innocent Iranians

Palestinian arrested after attack in Tel Aviv

Maghreb future is tied to resolving Western Sahara conflict

MENA countries particularly vulnerable to climate change

UN-backed Libya PM to meet eastern strongman near Paris

Saudi Arabia and allies insist demands non-negotiable as GCC crisis continues

Netanyahu faces mounting pressure over holy site

Two Jordanians killed at Israeli embassy in Amman

Erdogan holds talks with Gulf leaders on Qatar crisis

Arab League accuses Israel of 'playing with fire' at holy site

Erdogan seeks to defuse standoff around Turkey’s Qatar

Syria warplanes strike near Damascus despite ceasefire

US warns Iran over imprisoned Americans

Kuwait protests to Lebanon over Hezbollah training

30 extremists in Sinai operations

Three Palestinians shot dead in Jerusalem

Nearly 360 injured in Turkey by magnitude 6.7 quake

UN says Saudi to blame for deadly Yemen strike on civilians

Police fire tear gas to disperse Morocco protest

Germany reviews arms sales to Turkey

Hezbollah launches Syria border operation

China calls for Gulf crisis talks