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Court frees poet Sayer, sets trial in October

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By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The criminal court yesterday decided to free poet Jamal Al-Sayer without bail and set his trial for Oct 5 on charges of writing tweets deemed offensive to HH the Amir and spreading false news. Sayer was arrested last week and the public prosecution ordered his detention pending his trial. He has denied the accusations.

MPs have strongly criticized the way Sayer, who is elderly, was arrested by police without calling him for investigation. They also criticized a decision by the public prosecution to detain him, saying the action violates a new amendment to the law banning the detention of defendants facing opinion charges.

Opposition MP Muhannad Al-Sayer, who is a relative of the poet, said despite the release of the poet, opposition MPs are still demanding holding an emergency term of the National Assembly to discuss a number of draft laws. The lawmakers said the proposed term will debate the non-implementation by the public prosecution of a new amendment that bans the detention of defendants being interrogated in opinion cases.

The term also seeks to debate and approve a law challenging judges and prosecutors and a law that will set the duration of service for judges and prosecutors. So far, 29 MPs have signed the request, which needs the signature of at least 33 members to enforce the term, which is unlikely to be secured because there are only 31 opposition MPs.

In another development, MP Sayer sent a question to HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah about what the authorities have done to implement a statement he made last year vowing to make Kuwaitis 70 percent of the population. Kuwaitis currently make up 30 percent of the population.

Sayer said the prime minister in June 2020 made a statement in which he vowed to make Kuwaitis 70 percent of the population with expatriates making up 30 percent, exactly the reverse of the current percentage. He asked the premier if any measure had been taken to implement the plan, adding what were the technical, legal and administrative factors for the statement. The lawmaker asked if the statement was based on studies and requested copies of those studies. He also demanded to know the timeframe of implementing the statement.

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