Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kuwait opposition politician slams 'bullying'

In exclusive interview, Mossallam al-Barrak, convicted for insulting emir, says he will continue fighting for reforms.

Mossallam al-Barrak, Kuwait's prominent leader of the opposition, has made his first public appearance since a court sentenced him to five years in jail for insulting the emir.

Special forces stormed the family home belonging to Barrak, a former member of parliament, on Wednesday.

Barrak had refused to hand himself in - insisting he had not been presented with an arrest warrant.

Speaking exclusively to Al Jazeera, Barrak said the calls for reform in Kuwait will continue despite his sentencing, and warned the government not to continue its crackdown on the opposition.

"This aggressive approach, and bullying by the authorities will not succeed," Barrak said.

"If they think that by using excessive force, and indiscriminately cracking down on civilians, is the way in which they should deal with the people, then this is wrong."

Barrak had first been detained in October on suspicion of "undermining the status of the emir".

He had warned the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah, in a speech that he would not be allowed to "take Kuwait into the abyss of autocracy".

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