Opposition figures appeal for amnesty in petition to Amir

More Assembly ‘stormers’ to return in hope of being pardoned

KUWAIT: A petition signed by 53 politicians, academics and activists appealing to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to ask the government to prepare a general amnesty law to pardon people jailed for cases related to political expression was published yesterday. The signatories, who include many former MPs, also called that the proposed amnesty should include those who are in jail currently or outside the country over the case of storming the National Assembly during a protest in 2011.

The petition said that the amnesty law and pardoning those jailed over political issues will please their relatives and the Kuwaiti people in general, adding that a general amnesty will strengthen internal unity amid explosive regional tensions. The petition coincided with the return to the country of former MP Fahd Al-Khanna, who had been living in Turkey along with about 15 opposition activists and former MPs for the past 18 months.

The men were sentenced to hefty jail terms by the court of cassation in the summer of last year for storming the National Assembly, but they left the country just ahead of the verdict to avoid going to jail. But apparently, some of them have decided to return in the hope that HH the Amir and the government may agree to issue the general amnesty law to pardon them.

Although Khanna was taken to jail to start serving his sentence, others were expected to return amid calls for national reconciliation to break the political deadlock in the country with less than a year before parliamentary elections. Islamist opposition lawmaker Mohammad Al-Dallal yesterday called for a national reform initiative that should call for reconciliation and pardons to overcome internal and external challenges.
But well-informed sources strongly denied that the government fully agrees with lawmakers concerning discussing the amnesty bill to acquit those indicted for breaking into the parliament and bloggers who profess political opinions. “A general amnesty is only in the hands of HH the Amir,” the sources stressed, noting that passing a law to pardon certain individuals would be unconstitutional, and this is why the government refuses discussing it in parliament.

By B Izzak

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