Kuwaiti Court Overturns Jail Sentence of Egyptian Worker

Published June 18th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Kuwait's appeals court on Sunday overturned a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence passed against an Egyptian worker accused of sparking mass riots in October, court sources said. 

The court "abstained from issuing any sentence and asked the worker to pledge good conduct for one year". A deportation order against Saeed Hamed was also nullified. 

Fines of 165 dollars each against two other workers and the acquittals of the remaining 13 tried in April were upheld. 

The Egyptians were accused of arson, damage to private property, and taking part in an illegal gathering and resisting arrest in the riots, which devastated a suburb of the capital. 

Around 120 people were wounded in the riots, which Kuwaiti newspapers described as the worst in the emirate's history. 

Heavily armed police and special forces clashed with 4,000 Egyptian workers including stone-throwing demonstrators in Kheitan, a poor district 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Kuwait City. 

Although the initial unrest followed a squabble between an Egyptian worker and Bangladeshi shopkeeper over payment for a smashed plate, deeper reasons soon emerged for the troubles. 

Most of the Egyptian protesters were laborers brought to Kuwait at extortionate prices by "visa traders" who reneged on promises of work on their arrival in the country. 

Kuwait, where some 275,000 Egyptians live, many of them unskilled workers, has said it will crack down on visa traffickers. 

A parliamentary committee formed to investigate visa-trafficking said Saturday it would soon issue a detailed report and recommend abolishing the sponsorship system in Kuwait. 

Under current laws, a foreigner must have a Kuwaiti sponsor to be able to work in the emirate - KUWAIT CITY (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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