Kuwait charges opposition leader with insulting emir

October 31, 2012 16:20

KUWAIT - Kuwaiti prosecutors have charged an opposition leader with insulting the Gulf state's ruler, a defense lawyer said on Wednesday, in a case likely to fuel tension before a parliamentary election on December 1.

Musallam al-Barrak, an outspoken former member of parliament was picked up from his home on Monday night, two weeks after an opposition rally at which he made rare critical remarks about the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.Prosecutors have charged Barrak with encroaching on the pillars of the emirate, insulting the emir and infringing his authorities, said the lawyer, who asked not to be named. He said prosecutors had ordered Barrak held for 10 days pending investigation and transferred him to the central prison.

While Kuwait allows more free speech than some of its neighbors, the constitution says the emir is "immune and inviolable". Insulting him carries a penalty of up to five years in jail.

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