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Musallam Al-Barrak Former MP and Leader of the Goverment's Opposition Arrested
KUWAIT TIMES: Members of the State Security yesterday arrested former MP and prominent opposition leader Musallam Al-Barrak after producing an arrest warrant issued by the public prosecution on accusations that he undermined the status of HH the Amir. Two hours after Barrak told hundreds of his supporters who gathered at his residence that he was ready to give himself up to face interrogations if authorities produced an original warrant arrest, two ranking state security officials arrived at his residence in Andalous. They gave Barrak, who has been a lawmaker since 1996, the warrant and after inspecting it with his lawyers, he declared that he was ready to go with the state security members.
Barrak is accused of undermining the status of the Amir after making remarks deemed offensive to the Amir at a public rally on Oct 15. Barrak had warned the Amir against changing the controversial electoral law. The former lawmaker was taken in a black van and member of the scrapped 2012 National Assembly Obaid Al-Wasmi insisted to ride with him in the van, which the policemen allowed. Barrak turned himself in peacefully to the state security officials who were offered tea at the former lawmaker’s residence before they drove away with the man who is considered the main voice of the Kuwaiti opposition.
Ahead of the arrest, Barrak told hundreds of his supporters to join in large numbers the opposition’s next demonstration on Nov 4 and denied that the opposition was plotting against the Amir or the ruling family. “Such claims were promoted by the corrupt media and their cheap methodology. We, and the whole world, wonder how can such claims be true, even by 1 percent, since the Amir has left on a special vacation?”, he asked.
Barrak had warned that security forces cannot arrest any individual without having a legal arrest warrant. “A police patrol came to my house on Thursday accompanied by press photographers but they did not have a formal warrant, so I refused the verbal arrest orders”, he said, adding that like many others, he too has heard about orders to arrest him. He said many police patrols have been showing up outside his house and whenever he asked to see official warrants, they simply left.
“Yes, I took part in the ‘A Nation’s Dignity’ march on October 21 near Kuwait Towers and the majority MPs met at my diwaniya. I also received the arrested MPs after they were released,” Barrak boasted. “Why haven’t I been arrested so far, if such orders have been issued? Security forces were wonderful in handling the incident and, after all, they are only following orders. But all I want them to do is to show me an official arrest warrant as stipulated by law”, he had demanded.
The public prosecution is expected to start interrogating Barrak today and will either release him on bail or detain him pending further interrogations. Last week, authorities arrested three former MPs – Falah Al-Sawwagh, Khaled Al-Tahous and Bader Al-Dahoum – and released them on KD 5,000 bail each after five days in jail. They were also charged with undermining the status of the Amir.
In a related development, the government is expected to issue today the Amiri decree inviting voters to elect a new Assembly which paves the way to start registration of candidates amid expectations of a wide boycott.