Protesters clash with police in Kuwait
MP Musallam al-Barrak was arrested on June 2, causing anger across Kuwait (File/AFP)
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Police in Kuwait have fired tear gas and stun grenade to disperse protesters calling for the release of a leading opposition figure.
Defying a government order not to hold unauthorized demonstrations, more than 2,000 protesters took to the streets in the capital, Kuwait City, on Sunday to protest the arrest of former opposition MP Musallam al-Barrak.
Police, however, responded with tear gas and stun grenade to stop the protesters from marching toward the court complex where Barrak is due to face trial on Monday.
A number of the protesters had to be treated for inhaling gas.
It was the fifth night of demonstrations sparked by the arrest of Barrak, which was made on July 2. The country’s public prosecutor detained him for allegedly insulting the judiciary and slandering the head of the supreme judicial council, Faisal al-Marshed.
Barrak was questioned over remarks he had made at a June 10 public rally, in which he said former senior officials including members of the ruling family took tens of billions of dollars from public funds and engaged in money laundering.
The ex-MP also claimed that the former officials had deposited the funds into foreign banks, including one in Israel.
Barrak also noted that the public prosecutor was not impartial because he is on the judicial council which sued him.
Kuwait experienced massive domestic political turmoil between mid-2006 and last year when some dozen governments were formed and parliament was dissolved six times.
The Persian Gulf country was the first Arab state to establish an elected parliament in 1962. However, the Al Sabah family remained in control of most key posts, including the premiership and the ministries of defense, interior, and foreign affairs.