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Bahrain, MENA & Arab Spring
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#Kuwait : Press Freedom Group Urges Government To Abandon Media Crackdown

#Kuwait : Press Freedom Group Urges Government To Abandon Media Crackdown | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

An international press freedom group is urging Kuwait to abandon proposals to tighten media laws that could bring fines of nearly $1 million for insulting the Gulf nation's ruler and allow further clampdowns on blogs and websites.

The measures reflect wider efforts across the Western-backed Gulf states to expand media controls following the Arab Spring. Dozens of online activists across the region have been jailed.

Kuwait's proposed codes could bring some of the harshest penalties.

A report Wednesday by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the steep fines could bankrupt media outlets and bring jail time for journalists unable to pay....

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Kuwait Cracks Down on Dissent, Twitter - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Kuwait Cracks Down on Dissent, Twitter - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Two years after the start of the Arab Spring, the political battle in Kuwait is growing increasingly more tense over Twitter. At the current rate, Kuwait will soon be able to compete with neighboring Bahrain in the number of prosecutions brought against Twitter users. Within weeks of the February 2011 uprising, Bahrain had arrested large numbers of people using Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti authorities also apparently decided to intimidate their critics and others through the arrest and trolling of influential Twitter users. In addition, tens of protesters have been arrested during the opposition’s dignity marches and in demonstrations by the country’s stateless community. The government, it seems, is no longer interested in defending Kuwait's reputation as the ‘most democratic’ state in the Gulf......


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MPs draft fresh plan on interest write-off | Kuwait Times

MPs draft fresh plan on interest write-off | Kuwait Times | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

KUWAIT: Even as the parliamentary finance committee began two-month long sessions to study the proposals pertaining to the raging issue of bankloans and write off of interests, a number of MPs are preparing a proposal to write off interest of the loans and place the matter on a priorities list, sources said. The sources added that this can be achieved after an agreement with the government to solve the issue during this parliamentary session itself. MP Nasser Al-Meri said he presented the proposal to solve the problem with an intention to do justice to both debtors and non debtors.....

Spencer Haskins's insight:

As I understand it, Islam does not allow usery.  How is investment performed under this?  What is the incentive for financiers to get involved in projects of national need when no interest can be charged?    I am ignorant here....can anyone field these questions?  

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Thousands protest in Kuwait City

Thousands protest in Kuwait City | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Demonstrators call for parliament to be dissolved after poll boycotted by the opposition.
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Thousands rally on eve of Kuwait polls

Thousands rally on eve of Kuwait polls | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Kuwait City: Thousands of people gathered in Kuwait city for a rally to denounce an emiri decree they see as designed to control the parliament on the event of controversial parliamentary elections.
Men, women and children wearing orange gathered to oppose a recent emiri decree that reduced the number of candidates a voter can elect from four to one. The opposition sees the move as an attempt to produce a parliament that is compliant with the ruling family.
The rally was the third of its kind, but the first major rally that was held with government permission. The two previous rallies were held in defiance of a government ban on rallies, which led confrontation with the police as well as the firing of tear gas.
Some protesters said that since confrontation was not expected, women and children had a chance to attend, swelling the number of protesters. Others have however opposed the seeking of permission for rallies, arguing that protesting is a legal right for Kuwaitis. ....

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Kuwait Emir to comply with elections ruling

Kuwait Emir to comply with elections ruling | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Manama: Kuwait’s Emir has pledged to accept a ruling by the Constitutional Court on his amendment of the 2006 electoral law.
“Regarding a reported move by some Kuwaitis to challenge the amendment decree, I do laud this civil tendency and declare before the people of Kuwait that I accept the decision by the Constitutional Court even if it is contrary to my assessment,” Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad said. “Our respect for and appreciation of the judicial system are steady and definite and our commitment to implementing its provisions is genuine. We will accept any court decision willingly. Upholding what is right is a virtue,” the Emir said on Wednesday as he received a delegation of professors and academics.
Kuwait has been sourly divided after the Constitutional Court dismissed the parliament elected in February and reinstated the legislative house voted in last February.
The court ruled that the decrees dismissing the 2009 parliament and the calling for elections in February were unconstitutional. ....

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Kuwait detains Twitter users for insulting emir - Hindustan Times

Kuwait detains Twitter users for insulting emir - Hindustan Times | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Kuwait's public prosecution today ordered the detention of four Twitter users for 10 days for allegedly insulting the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state, a rights group said.
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Two royals arrested over critical tweets – Kuwait opposition shuns polls; Registration closes | Kuwait Times

Two royals arrested over critical tweets – Kuwait opposition shuns polls; Registration closes | Kuwait Times | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

KUWAIT: Kuwait has arrested two members of the Al-Sabah ruling family for tweets deemed critical of the government and supportive of the opposition, a human rights group and a lawyer said yesterday. Sheikh Abdullah Salem Al-Sabah and Sheikh Nawaf Malek Al-Sabah were arrested for expressing political views on Twitter, the independent Kuwait Human Rights News Centre said. Sheikh Abdullah’s lawyer Al-Humaidi Al-Subaie said his client was arrested late on Wednesday and was expected to be questioned by the public prosecutor later. ...

 

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Kuwait opposition to stage joint demonstration Sunday

Kuwait opposition to stage joint demonstration Sunday | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

(Reuters) - Kuwaiti opposition groups plan to stage a joint demonstration on Sunday against new voting rules as a standoff with the government intensifies ahead of an election on December 1.

While opposition groups say the rules are a bid to skew the election, the government, so far spared the mass uprising seen in Arab Spring movements elsewhere, has made clear its determination to stop street protests spilling over into unrest.

Former opposition lawmaker Waleed al-Tabtabie tweeted that opposition groups planned a "large rally" on November 11 to mark the 50th anniversary of the constitution.

He said it will take place in Erada Square, a designated protest area opposite parliament. .....

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Kuwait takes hard line on unauthorized protests

Kuwait takes hard line on unauthorized protests | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

(Reuters) - Kuwait's government has made clear it is willing and able to suppress unauthorized street protests, saying it must protect public safety, but risks provoking worse popular unrest by taking a hard line..

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11-4-2012 | Sunday protests set in Kuwait despite government warning

11-4-2012 | Sunday protests set in Kuwait despite government warning | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

The opposition in Kuwait will press ahead with a march on Sunday to protest at new voting rules ahead of parliamentary elections, despite a government warning that it will not tolerate unsanctioned demonstrations, an activist said.

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Outgoing defense minister to be Kuwait PM: Al Jazeera

Outgoing defense minister to be Kuwait PM: Al Jazeera | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait's emir will name outgoing Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah as new prime minister and ask him to form a government, Al Jazeera television reported on Wednesday,...
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Kuwaitis storm parliament chamber

Kuwaitis storm parliament chamber | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Dozens of Kuwaiti protesters briefly occupy parliament, as hundreds more demonstrate outside, demanding that the prime minister step down.
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Kuwaiti police teargas opposition protest

Kuwaiti police teargas opposition protest | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Kuwaiti police fired teargas late on Wednesday to disperse thousands of people protesting against the conviction of a prominent opposition politician for insulting the country's ruler, witnesses said.

Musallam al-Barrak, an outspoken former member of parliament, was sentenced to five years in jail on Monday for comments he made in a speech last year, when he urged Kuwait's emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to avoid "autocratic rule"....

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Kuwait jails opposition tweeter

Kuwait jails opposition tweeter | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

A Kuwaiti court has sentenced an opposition youth to two years in jail for writing tweets deemed offensive to the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state, a rights activist says.

Rashed al-Enezi, who was in the courtroom to hear the sentence, was immediately arrested by police and taken to jail, the head of the independent Kuwait Society for Human Rights, Mohammad al-Humaidi, told AFP on Sunday.

Enezi is the first to be sentenced among dozens of tweeters, activists and former opposition lawmakers who face similar charges since the government began a clampdown on the opposition in the lead-up to elections held on December 1 last year.

The opposition has been staging regular demonstrations in protest at an amendment of the electoral law and the holding of the the parliamentary vote on the basis of the amended legislation.

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It has announced plans to stage a demonstration later on Sunday to demand that parliament be dissolved and the amendment to the electoral law scrapped.

Humaidi said that more than 200 opposition activists, including former lawmakers, face trial on a variety of charges, mainly criticising the emir who is protected against criticism in the constitution....

 



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Kuwait: Security Forces Attack Protesters | Human Rights Watch

Kuwait: Security Forces Attack Protesters | Human Rights Watch | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
(Beirut) – Kuwait security forces have on several occasions used what appears to be excessive force to disperse largely peaceful protesters at a series of demonstrations over participation in the country’s political process since October 2012.
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Opposition hails Kuwait boycott

Opposition hails Kuwait boycott | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Opposition groups hail their boycott of Kuwait's parliamentary election, with turnout falling to 39%, and call the new body unconstitutional. ...

Islamists, liberals and Bedouins were among the main groups refusing to take part in Saturday's election.

The opposition boycott means 60% of the assembly are new MPs.

The biggest change is for Sunni Islamists. The boycott reduced their representation from 23 to four.

Kuwait has seen months of confrontations between the opposition and government
The opposition said the new assembly was "unconstitutional".

The Popular Committee for Boycotting the Election said the new body "does not represent the majority of Kuwaiti people and has lost popular and political legitimacy".

It said any legislation would be illegal.

Kuwait has seen months of confrontations between the opposition and government ...

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Kuwait opposition calls mass protest for eve of vote

Kuwait opposition calls mass protest for eve of vote | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
The Kuwaiti opposition announces it will stage a major demonstration on the eve of the December 1 parliamentary election as a finale to its nationwide campaign to urge a boycott of the disputed polls.
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Fears for efficacy of Kuwait democracy

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Shortly before leaving for Riyadh following his participation in the GCC interior ministers’ meeting, Kuwait’s First Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah Al-Hmoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah told KUNA “The final statement of the one-day meeting includes resolutions and recommendations that would activate common security strategies and plans.

He said there was high-level security coordination among the GCC countries to face future challenges. He added, during the meeting ‘very important’ decisions were taken to address the current urgent and future challenges.

Former Speaker of the Parliament and leading opposition figure, Ahmed Al-Saadoun said he is afraid the amended security agreement may include what he termed as “an assault on people’s freedom particularly the freedom of expression in all its forms since the communiquÈ of the meeting which was held behind closed doors has yet to be made public.”

Former Liberal MP Saleh Al-Mullah has called on the government to publish the articles of the GCC security agreement “because it raises lot of deserving questions.”

Al-Mullah said anyone who reads the agreement which Kuwait had earlier refused to sign, would know the amount of constitutional infringements it contains and the size of its contradiction to the concept of the Kuwaiti democracy.

“We ask how the government could sign the agreement that offers immunity to all members of the ruling family, the ministers and their like.”

He argued “the amendment is completely unacceptable because of the constitutional violations which contradict with the freedoms and state sovereignty, especially since Kuwait had already shown its objection to about 20 articles of the 45 articles of this security agreement.”

Former opposition MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei rejected the agreement outright saying “the agreement destroys the Kuwaiti Constitution. We reject it. Kuwait should not approve it.” ....

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Thousands of Kuwaitis protest voting rules ahead of Dec.1 poll

KUWAIT, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Kuwaitispacked into a square opposite parliament on Sunday in a peacefulopposition-led rally against new voting rules ahead of electionson Dec. 1

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Kuwait pro-democracy protesters defy the odds - Region - World - Ahram Online

Kuwait pro-democracy protesters defy the odds - Region - World - Ahram Online | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

The Kuwaiti opposition is playing it by ear. They took to the street 21 October and said it outloud: “We will not allow you!” No one listened. To send a message is one thing, but to have it comprehended is another.
A week later, the standoff between Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah and the opposition took another turn when tens of thousands of activists gathered around the central prison in Sulaibiya district where prominent MP Mussallam Barrak was detained.

Barrak is charged with “undermining the status of the emir,” in a speech on 15 October.

Barrak, a parliamentarian and hardcore activist, was the one who coined the slogan “We will not allow you!” that shook the streets of Kuwait in protests.

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Kuwait opposition determined to seek greater rights

Kuwait opposition determined to seek greater rights | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

BBC Arabic's Khaled Ezzelarab sees how opposition supporters in Kuwait are determined to press their demands for greater democratic rights.....

Kuwait has not faced widespread unrest since the Arab Spring uprisings erupted last year across the Middle East, but opposition supporters are still determined to press their demands for greater democratic rights, reports BBC Arabic's Khaled Ezzelarab.

On Sunday night, hundreds of vehicles came to a standstill as the police diverted traffic away from Kuwait City's main road along the waterfront, where opposition activists had planned to hold a demonstration.

It caused a traffic jam unlike any that Sayyed had seen in his 10 years as a taxi driver.....

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Kuwait may employ troops against opposition - report — RT

Kuwait may employ troops against opposition - report — RT | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Kuwaiti authorities are considering bringing troops into the capital Kuwait City, to bring calm amidst protests against the regime. It's thought the army may be involved in the security opposition to contain a march, set to take place on Sunday.....

International human rights watchdogs have condemned the harsh crackdown, urging Kuwait to respect the right to peaceful demonstration.
The opposition’s planned march on Sunday is to oppose an electoral law amendment, recently introduced by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, in the face of early parliamentary elections on December 1.
However, the march leaders called on the participants to refrain from violence. They insist they have no desire to undermine the Al-Sabah rule; Friday they pledged their loyalty to the emir, but renewed their demand for the electoral law to be repealed.
In October Sheikh Sabah issued a decree reducing the number of votes cast by each citizen from four to one. The decree will also make it harder for the opposition to form coalitions, giving an edge to pro-government candidates.
Two days after the decree was issued, Kuwait witnessed the biggest protest rally in the country’s history, with as many as 100,000 people of the country’s 3.5 million joined taking to the streets. The march was dispersed by riot police, leaving over 100 protesters injured.
The entire spectrum of the opposition – Islamists, liberals and nationalists – also announced they would boycott the elections for the National Assembly scheduled for 1 December.
The opposition won a February general election, but the ruling House of Sabah dissolved parliament and reinstated the previous pro-government assembly in June.
Barrak called the move “a coup against the constitution”, prompting his arrest.

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Bahrain scenario looms in ‘tense, safe’ Kuwait:.

Bahrain scenario looms in ‘tense, safe’ Kuwait:. | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

...The latest round of political strife was triggered by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah ordering an amendment to the electoral law which the opposition claims is aimed at manipulating poll results.

On Monday, opposition leaders held meetings to discuss their plan of action, pledging to escalate the protests.

Former MP Abdullah al-Barghash said that the opposition will continue its protest campaign until the controversial amendment is withdrawn.

"I think we have entered a new phase in which youths are playing a pivotal role," said independent political analyst Dahem al-Qahtani.

"If no peaceful solution is reached, we could be moving into a scenario similar to (neighbouring) Bahrain," Qahtani said, in reference to sporadic but persistent street protests against the ruling family.

"After reaching this stage, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for the popular movement to back down ... The solution is in real democratic reforms," he said....

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Report: Kuwait orders nearly 50 arrests for parliament storming

Report: Kuwait orders nearly 50 arrests for parliament storming | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait media report that authorities have issued nearly 50 arrest warrants in connection with a protest mob that stormed parliament earlier this month.
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