Kuwaiti ex-MP jailed for criticising dissolution of parliament

Walid Tabtabai was found guilty of “transgressing against the rights and authority” of Kuwait’s Emir [Getty File Photo]

A Kuwaiti court on Monday sentenced a former member of parliament to four years in prison with hard labour after he posted a tweet on X criticising the dissolution of the country’s parliament.

Walid Al-Tabtabai was found guilty of “transgressing against the rights and authorities of the Emir of Kuwait”.

Kuwaiti Emir Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dissolved the National Assembly on 10 May, only one month after it was elected and before it had even met. He also suspended parts of the constitution.

Tabtabai tweeted that this was “unacceptable” and said that other countries had influenced the decision, expressing hope that parliament would be reinstated “with all its constitutional powers”.

He was believed to be referring to Saudi Arabia and the UAE which have long backed authoritarian movements in the Arab world.

He was arrested just one day later. During his trial, Tabtabai denied all the charges against him regarding transgressing against the Emir.

Tabtabai is considered a conservative Islamist and has been in trouble with Kuwaiti authorities before. He was previously sentenced to three years in prison for storming the parliament in 2011 before being pardoned by late Emir Sabah al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

Kuwait has suffered political deadlock in recent years with frequent disputes between the National Assembly, which has been dissolved several times, and the government.

In May, 83-year-old Sheikh Mishal justified his dissolution of the parliament by saying that “corruption” had increased in the country, creating an “unhealthy atmosphere”.

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