[QODLink]
Middle East

Kuwaiti court frees opposition leader on bail

Court of Appeals frees Mussallam al-Barrak on bail, but delays final verdict over the insulting of emir to a later date.

Last Modified: 22 Apr 2013 09:43
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

An appeals court in Kuwait has freed on bail an opposition leader at the centre of a political standoff, delaying the final verdict to an unspecified later date. 

Mussallam al-Barrak, who has so far evaded arrest, was sentenced to five years in jail for insulting the the emir of the Gulf state.

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Kuwait City, said that the delay is "probably the best situation" that the government could have opted for. 

"On one hand, it appeases the opposition supporters, many of whom had threatened to stage large scale demonstrations if Barrak was put behind bars," said Elshayyal. 

"On the other hand, it may change the threat of sending him to jail that would be a cloud hanging over his head - a very valuable card for the government to use in its negotiations if continued political standoffs continue."

Reacting to the court decision, opposition supporters who had gathered outside the court cheered and expressed happiness that the country's diverse opposition had rallied around Barrak. 

Elshayyal added that the opposition would still be "on edge" until any final verdict. The court has yet to decide a date for the next hearing. 

He said this offers an opportunity for the two parties to reach an agreement, which could pave the way for a lighter or suspended sentence, which may ease the tense situation. 

229

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.