By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwaiti opposition MPs blasted the government Tuesday for the police beating of law professor Obaid al-Wasmi, who is now in prison.
“We condemn the government measures against Wasmi and the brutal police beating,” independent opposition MP Mubarak al-Waalan said at a solidarity meeting held outside parliament.
“We are here to condemn the policy of kicking that was applied on doctor Wasmi, as if he was an enemy of the country,” Waalan said.
Wasmi, a law professor at Kuwait University, was beaten and arrested last week after speaking at a December 8 public gathering organized by the opposition and forcefully dispersed by police.
Several policemen beat Wasmi with batons, kicked him and dragged him by the foot as he cowered on the ground.
The attack on Wasmi and others was broadcast by the Doha-based pan-Arab satellite Al-Jazeera news channel, whose local bureau was subsequently closed by Kuwaiti authorities.
The public attorney ordered Wasmi to be detained for 21 days for interrogation Thursday.
He is being questioned on accusations of spreading false news abroad, participating in a public gathering with the intention of committing a crime and undermining the status of the emir.
He is also facing a charge of instigating the armed forces to disobey orders, according to his lawyer, Al-Humaidi al-Subaie.
“What happened to Wasmi is a stigma … and came as a result of the government’s repressive policy,” nationalist MP Ali al-Deqbasi said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Leading opposition MP Mussallam al-Barrak accused the prime minister and interior minister, both members of the Al-Sabah ruling family, of ordering the police attack on Wasmi and others.
International rights groups have criticized Kuwait for using force to prevent public gatherings by the opposition.
The December 8 gathering was organized by the opposition to protest what they said was a government plot to amend the 1962 constitution in order to suppress public freedoms.
Three opposition MPs filed a motion to quiz Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah last week, a nephew of the emir, over the use of force. – AFP