Kuwait holds 24 over Parliament storming: Lawyer

Kuwait`s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, on Sunday called the incident a black day for the oil-rich Gulf state.

Kuwait City: Kuwait on Thursday remanded in
custody 24 opposition activists pending further investigation
on charges they stormed the parliament building last week,
their lawyer said.

"After interrogation all night, the public prosecutor
this morning remanded them in police custody until tonight
when questioning will resume," said Al-Humaidi al-Subaie,
coordinator of the opposition defence team.

Hundreds of opposition activists stormed the sea-side
assembly on November 16 after clashes with riot police that
followed a large protest to demand the resignation of the
prime minister and that parliament be dissolved.

Kuwait`s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, on Sunday
called the incident a "black day" for the oil-rich Gulf state
which has been witnessing heightened tension between the
ruling family led government and opposition MPs.

The activists have been questioned on charges of damaging
public property, storming parliament, illegal procession,
assaulting police and others for which they "face a jail term
of between six months and a life term," Subaie said.

Some of the activists were arrested yesterday while the
rest handed themselves in while more plan to surrender today,
the lawyer said.

Subaie had said yesterday that the public prosecutor
issued around 50 arrest warrants and more warrants were
expected to be issued.

Riot police yesterday beat up with batons supporters and
relatives of the activists who gathered outside a police
headquarters east of the capital Kuwait City.

Dozens of supporters led by several opposition MPs spent
the night outside the palace of justice in Kuwait City where
questioning took place.

Opposition MP Mussallam al-Barrak announced at the
gathering that the opposition will hold an emergency meeting
today to decide its next course of action ahead of a planned
anti-government rally on Monday.

MP Khaled al-Tahus said opposition activists plan to camp
in a square opposite parliament for at least two days starting
Sunday to press for a change of government.

The emirate`s opposition launched the campaign aiming to
change the prime minister and dissolve parliament following an
alleged corruption scandal involving around 15 MPs.

The opposition has also accused Prime Minister Sheikh
Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a senior member of the
ruling family, of transferring public funds into his overseas
bank accounts. The government has denied the charge.

OPEC member Kuwait sits on about 10 per cent of the
global crude oil reserves and currently pumps around 3.0
million barrels per day.


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