MPs demand action over Kuwait sports situtation; Citizenship ruling delayed after judge recuses himself

KUWAIT: MPs Abdullah Al-Turaiji and Abdullah Maayouf yesterday met HH the Amir and the prime minister over a decision by the world’s football governing body FIFA to suspend Kuwait Football Association for failing to change the sports law. Maayouf said they explained to the Amir their meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Geneva, refuting allegations against Kuwait that it was not respecting the Olympic charter.

The two lawmakers also told the IOC that the Kuwaiti government was not interfering in sports affairs, and on the contrary, has been providing generous aid to sports clubs and federations. The two MPs also called for putting an end to the ongoing problem in a way to comply with Kuwaiti laws and sovereignty.

Meanwhile, MP Turaiji called on the government to dissolve the Kuwait Football Association, claiming it was responsible for the suspension of Kuwait by FIFA. He said a temporary committee should be appointed to run the association. He also called for suing FIFA at the international sports court for taking an arbitrary decision to suspend Kuwait. Liberal MP Rakan Al-Nasef called for holding accountable those responsible for the suspension of Kuwait football.

In another development, the appeals court yesterday did not issue a highly-expected ruling on the citizenship of former Islamist MP Abdullah Al-Barghash and his family after judge Najeeb Al-Majed recused himself from the case and asked it to be given to another judge. The lower court had scrapped the government’s decision to revoke the citizenship of Barghash and a large number of his family members and ordered the government to reinstate them as full citizens.

The government withdrew Barghash’s nationality on the claim that it was obtained on the basis of false documents, which the former lawmaker vehemently denied and took the matter to court. During the trial, the court asked the government to submit its reasons for revoking the citizenship, but the government insisted that the court had no right to look into the matter because it is a sovereign issue. The appeals court held several hearings into the case and set a date to issue its verdict in early October, but it postponed it to Oct 18.

The reason given by the judge for not handling the case was “to remove any embarrassment” on his part, without further explanation. Now a new judge will be appointed to look into the case from the start. The government had revoked the citizenship of several people amid a crackdown on opposition members and sympathizers. The opposition described the decisions as politically motivated. Regarding similar cases, other courts said they were not competent to handle nationality issues because they are sovereign matters

By B Izzak

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