Kuwait detains ex-MP critical of Sisi's visit

Kuwait detains ex-MP critical of Sisi's visit
Kuwaiti authorities detain Saleh al-Mulla, a former MP and a liberal opposition lawmaker, for criticising the country's support of the Egyptian president Abdel Fatah el-sisi.
2 min read
07 January, 2015
This is el-Sisi's first official visit to Kuwait as Egypt's president (Getty)

Authorities in Kuwait have detained a former liberal opposition lawmaker for allegedly insulting the Gulf state's ruler and criticising a visit by the Egyptian president, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Prosecutors detained Saleh al-Mulla after questioning him on Tuesday night about comments made on Twitter, lawyer Abdullah al-Ahmad told AFP.

Ahmad said his client was told the comments were deemed "offensive" to Kuwait's emir and "humiliating" for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who concluded a two-day visit to Kuwait on Tuesday.

Mulla was accused of threatening Kuwaiti-Egyptian relations by criticising Sisi, the lawyer said.

In his tweets, Mulla repeatedly urged Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah not to give more financial aid to Sisi.

In one tweet, he said any money given to Sisi should be taken back by Kuwaitis.

In another, he said that the Emir's "hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood does not jusfity you infatuation with dictator el-Sisi". 

Kuwait along with other Gulf states backed Sisi following the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. It has offered Cairo aid worth some $4 billion.

Mulla was a member of parliament for several years before he boycotted elections in December 2012 in protest against the government's amendment of the electoral law.

Other opposition activists had launched an online campaign against Sisi's visit, urging authorities not to give more funds to Egypt.

Ahmad said there was no legal justification for Mulla's detention and demanded his immediate release.

Kuwaiti courts have handed down prison sentences to several opposition activists and former lawmakers for remarks deemed insulting to the emir.

The latest ruling was issued on Monday when the supreme court sentenced  activist Sager al-Hashash to 20 months in prison on charges of insulting the emir on Twitter.

Criticising the emir in Kuwait is considered a state security offence, with those found guilty facing up to five years behind bars.