By B Izzak
KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday signed and issued decrees pardoning Kuwaitis convicted to years in jail, official statements said, setting the ground for national reconciliation in the country. The Cabinet announced following a brief meeting that HH the Amir signed two pardon decrees which the Cabinet had approved the day before.
It then announced that HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah tendered the government’s resignation to HH the Amir. The Cabinet said its resignation comes amid an optimistic atmosphere in the country, and to pave the way for a new chapter. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled is highly expected to be asked by HH the Amir to form the new Cabinet, which is expected to include more MPs.
National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem, who played an important role in the pardon discussions, said at the Assembly that the pardon decrees had been issued, expressing his thanks to HH the Amir and all those who were involved in the efforts. Ghanem said he was informed of the Cabinet’s resignation, and accordingly the regular Assembly session scheduled for today will not be held.
Local media cited unnamed senior government sources as saying that around 70 people will be pardoned, topped by a dozen opposition former lawmakers and activists who have been living in exile in Turkey since the summer of 2018 to escape jail terms passed against them for storming the National Assembly building following an anti-corruption protest in 2011.
They include former MPs Musallam Al-Barrak, Faisal Al-Mislem, Jamaan Al-Harbash and others. The list is expected to include other convicts in Kuwait. Ghanem yesterday confirmed that more reports for additional pardons will be submitted to HH the Amir, but gave no dateline.
MP Obaid Al-Wasmi tweeted that the pardon has been issued, the government has resigned and a decision to delay grillings against the prime minister is no longer effective. He said no concessions had been made, especially on imposing taxes. MP Saifi Al-Saifi thanked HH the Amir and called for pardoning all activists jailed for expressing their opinions.
There were no details about how many people had been pardoned or their names. This information is expected to be detailed when the two decrees are published in the official gazette. The move came after sessions of national dialogue called by HH the Amir in which the government, speaker and three opposition MPs took part.
The Amir then invoked article 75 of the constitution, which authorizes him to pardon prisoners or reduce their sentences, and decided to pardon a number of Kuwaiti citizens convicted and sentenced to jail terms. The Amir assigned the speaker, prime minister and head of the judicial council Ahmad Al-Ajeel to set out conditions for the planned amnesty. The three submitted their first report on the issue to HH the Amir late last week.