Kuwaitis rally for opposition leader

AFP-JIJI

Thousands of Kuwaitis demonstrated Monday night after the lower court sentenced key opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak to five years in prison for insulting the emir.

Around 10,000 people gathered at al-Barrak’s residence southwest of the capital, Kuwait City, and marched on the nearby central prison, where al-Barrak could serve his prison term, disrupting traffic at a major highway without any police interference.

Al-Barrak, a nationalist former member of Parliament, was handed the prison term over remarks he made at a public rally on Oct. 15 and deemed offensive to Emir Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah .

Ahead of the march, 15 former opposition lawmakers and prominent activists repeated most of the speech for which al-Barrak received the prison term in a show of solidarity with him. They plan to do the same every day. Criticizing the emir is a crime in Kuwait that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.