Barrakgate: The country of chaos?

No one to believe the news coming from the peaceful country of Kuwait; as the first democracy in the Gulf is facing problems, and they are too big to be missed, neglected or solved soon.

Ms. Badrya Darwish, Editor of Kuwait Times is describing the scene very well when she is talking about the activist Musallam Al- Barrak, whom was sentenced lately to 5 years in jail, for violation of the laws of Kuwait, by insulting H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed, Amir of Kuwait.

Badrya Darwish is asking “Have we become the country of chaos?” She is referring to “Barrakgate,” relating the historical Watergate event with her own Barrakgate. “I know I wrote about this before but I keep on discovering new angles. By the way, I am neither pro- Musallam nor against him. I am criticizing the process.”

She adds commenting on the way Mr. Al Barrak was arrested. “We are a country with functioning institutions. Then, he (Al Barrak) has legal rights to have a lawyer, be bailed out or appeal his verdict, etc. These steps apply to the former honorable gentleman too. I do not blame him for the current status quo though. He is sitting in his diwan in Andalus (district in Kuwait) and gives interviews all the time. He says he is available and ready to be arrested if the proper documentation is presented to him. Mind you, he says that in the centre of a large group of people who are his supporters. I am not questioning the legality of the arrest order. I am questioning the functioning of the government in this case. Does that mean that in the future if somebody is sentenced to imprisonment, the government will not be able to step in and detain him for six days because he is surrounded by supporters and followers? Is it his popularity that prevents them from shackling him? Actually, day by day, the man is becoming more popular. His popularity is stepping outside Kuwait too. I just landed from a trip abroad where everyone was asking me about the Musallam Al-Barrak’s case.”

She finished her column by saying: “If people think that they have a weak government, lawlessness will prevail and chaos will surround us. The stronger will eat the weaker and the rich will eat the poor.”

Commenting on the same case, Mr. Ali Ahmad Al-Baghli, Former Minister of Oil, claims that Musallam Al-Barrak is the crux of Kuwait’s political movement.

“Through his passionate speeches, Musallam Al-Barrak is vastly experienced in inspiring the people, yet he committed a mistake of his lifetime because the last speech which his advisors wrote sent him to jail, Musallam Al-Barrak, whose ideas we disagree with, but respect him and his convictions, should have been more cautious and taken the example of the head of the movement Ahmed Al-Sa’adoun who has no cases recorded against him”.

Mr. Al-Baghli says that this verdict (taken against Al-Barrak) is based on the same Constitution which day and night he calls on others to respect: “Why did you not respect that article which says that the Emir’s entity is protected from any offensive phrases?”

The ex-minister is giving a last sentence smile by reminding Mr. Al-Barrak that several politicians have spent time behind bars — politicians such as Omar Al-Mukhtar, Ahmad Orabi, Mohammed Morsi and Al-Ghanoushi. Now it is the time for Musallam Al-Barrak. or as the Egyptian proverb says, ‘Jail is for men!’

Kuwaiti former member of parliament and opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak waves to supporters from his house in Andulos, after a ruling sentenced him to jail for insulting the emir, April 15, 2013. Barrak was sentenced to five years in jail on Monday for insulting the emir, his lawyer said, in a ruling that brought thousands of people to the streets in protest. The Kuwaiti criminal court found Barrak guilty of insulting Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah in a speech in October last year in which he appealed to the emir to avoid "autocratic rule". Barrak was not immediately taken into custody. <REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee>

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