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Kuwaiti MP Dashti Faces Jail, Loss of Parliamentary Seat | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Abdulhameed Dashti speaks during a parliament session at Kuwait’s national assembly in the capital Kuwait City. AFP

Kuwait-The Kuwaiti criminal court sentenced on Wednesday Member of Parliament Abdulhameed Dashti to 14 years and six months in jail for insulting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Dashti was sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison with labor for insulting Saudi Arabia, criticizing religion and insulting the judiciary and another three years for insulting Bahrain.

Dashti, who currently lives in Britain for medical treatment, was sentenced in absentia and has been charged by the Public Prosecution with discrediting Saudi Arabia. He was also charged of insulting a neighboring country and calling for joining banned groups.

Under the Kuwaiti law, any individual convicted of hostile act against a foreign country, which may expose Kuwait to war or the severance of diplomatic relations may be sent to jail.

MP Dashti was stripped of his parliamentary immunity several times to enable the public prosecution to question him for insulting Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti Ministry of Justice accuses Dashti of insulting Saudi Arabia after the Foreign Ministry filed an official compliant against him.

After the verdict, several Kuwaiti lawyers took to social media and commented on the matter saying that this could lead to his removal from the parliament.

Lawyer Hussein Abdullah said on his Twitter account that the verdict will affect Dashti’s membership in the parliament. He noted: “The sentence to prison with labor has been unprecedented in Kuwait’s history.”

While lawyer al-Hamidi al-Subai asked the public prosecutor to invoke the laws regarding verdicts in absentia and publish them in the official gazette. He added that any verdict issued in absentia is not considered final unless all appeals have been exhausted.

Subai explained that after the verdict is published, challenging the sentence will not be acceptable if it were done after the legal limitation. He added that as long as his membership in the parliament had not been revoked, he is still considered an MP.

According to the ruling, Dashti will not be able to challenge the ruling if he remains abroad and doesn’t return to the country.

Dashti took leave of absence for two months for medical reasons. He told the parliament in April that he was undergoing medical treatment in Britain and presented a medical report to the Embassy of Kuwait in London to support his claims.

Dashti was elected in the July 2013 general polls.