Manama: Kuwait’s Cassation Court has turned down a request to release detainees held for storming the parliament building, and ruled the next hearing would be held on February 18.
The court decision on Monday came as a disappointment to lawyers who expected the detainees, including two lawmakers, to be allowed to go home pending the resumption of trial.
The defendants were charged with storming the parliament in November 2011, demanding the resignation of then prime minister Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad. The incident, unprecedented in Kuwait’s history, was labelled “Black Wednesday”. The suspects said they acted “without malicious intention”.
The case remained pending until December 2013 when the Criminal Court acquitted them. However, the Court of Appeals in November 2017 rejected the ruling, and sentenced 67 of the defendants to jail terms ranging from one to nine years.
MPs Waleed Al Tabtabai and Jamaan Al Harbash were sentenced to seven years each, while a third sitting lawmaker, Mohammad Al Mutair, was given a one-year jail term.
Former lawmakers Musallam Al Barrak was sentenced to nine years, Mubarak Al Waalan, Salem Al Namlan, Faysal Al Musallam, Khalid Al Tahoos to five years each and Mohammad Al Khalifa to three.
The court ordered the defendants to surrender and serve the jail terms, and many of them complied.
Several defendants challenged the verdicts at the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest court, and their lawyers requested that they be released until the trial is resumed.
Under the Cassation Court rules, defendants who do not surrender automatically lose their appeal and the verdict by the Court of Appeals is upheld.