By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Lawmakers on Tuesday hailed the amnesty granted by HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to political prisoners, describing it as historic as large sections will benefit from the pardon. "This is a historic amnesty," said MP Adel Al-Damkhi, adding it will include large sections of prisoners jailed over political opinion offenses, including those imprisoned at the Central Jail over such offenses and those convicted and living abroad for years. Damkhi said the Amiri pardon represents a "true national reconciliation", adding the amnesty is fair and just as it covers broad cases and not only persons.

MP Abdullah Fahhad thanked HH the Amir and HH the Crown Prince for issuing the amnesty, saying it has made the leadership more popular than any time before. Seven MPs - Saud Al-Asfour, Falah Al-Hajeri, Shuaib Shaaban, Osama Al-Zaid, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, Hamad Al-Mudlej and Fahhad - greatly welcomed the Amiri pardon, saying it will put an end to an issue that had been the cause for social and political crises. Also, MPs Obaid Al-Wasmi, Hamed Al-Bathali and Khaled Al-Otaibi all hailed the Amiri amnesty as a great positive development for the country.

An Amiri decree was issued Monday, granting a special amnesty to an unspecified number of mainly Kuwaiti political prisoners who had been convicted to years of jail terms for violating legislation governing freedom of speech. A government committee was set up immediately to look into the cases of prisoners who will be included in the amnesty. The panel is headed by Deputy Premier and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Barrak Al-Sheetan and includes the attorney general and interior ministry undersecretary as members.

Sheetan said the decree stipulates to grant amnesty to a number of Kuwaiti citizens jailed for committing crimes, mostly political, between Nov 16, 2011 until the end of 2021. The minister said the special committee will start meetings on Thursday to prepare the lists of names of the prisoners to be pardoned under the decree. The minister did not provide details on how many prisoners will be pardoned and the timeframe for the work of the special committee.

Based on the decree, the amnesty will cover prisoners who were convicted for carrying out acts of aggression against a foreign country which could threaten Kuwait's security. It also includes those jailed for spreading false news about the internal situation of Kuwait, which could undermine the position of the country.

The amnesty will also include prisoners jailed for publicly insulting the authority of HH the Amir by any means whether in writing or in speech, in addition to those convicted for misusing their phones to threaten others or the security of the state. Several months ago, HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf issued a decree pardoning a number of opposition political leaders, many of them had been living in exile in Turkey, and a number of other prisoners in the country. The government had also promised to pardon more political prisoners, which has been the main demand of a majority of MPs.