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Kuwait Restores Citizenship of Opposition Figures | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah with MPs. (KUNA)

Kuwait – Kuwait will restore the citizenship of opposition figures and dozens of their relatives, nearly three years after revoking it.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah held a meeting with Speaker of National Assembly Marzouq Ali al-Ghanim and 13 other MPs during which the restoration of the citizenship was discussed.

After the meeting, Ghanim said that Sheikh Sabah has proven, “as always”, that he is indeed the “Emir of humanity.”

He stated that breakthroughs will occur through the efforts of some MPs.

“A large number of issues were examined — namely the humanitarian plight of a number of Kuwaitis with respect to the citizenship file,” confirmed Ghanim.

He also announced that Sheikh Sabah has tasked him, along with the premier, with following up on the file and presenting a full draft plan to address it.

The speaker stressed that the MPs “have pledged to His Highness the Emir that we will do our best to maintain political stability in Kuwait to face external and regional challenges.”

He added that positive results can only be attained through dialogue, assuring the citizens that the leadership would focus on development in the foreseeable future.

Following the announcement, several MPs commented on the matter, including members of the opposition whose citizenship has been revoked.

Opposition MP Mohammad al-Dallal tweeted after meeting with Sheikh Sabah: “Our thanks to the Emir for his generous gesture of restoring the revoked citizenship.”

MP Talal al-Jalal congratulated the families of those whose citizenship will be reinstated. He thanked the Emir and praised the efforts exerted by heads of the executive and legislative authorities, as well as his colleagues.

MP Mohamed Hayes stated they can now congratulate those covered by the citizenship reinstatement decision.

MP al-Humaidi al-Subaie praised God for the citizenship reinstatement decision, expressing his appreciation for the efforts exerted by the speaker and premier.

“This is the outcome of the MPs’ work for three months,” he added.

MP Mubarak al-Hajraf asserted the Emir showed “fatherly kindness and generosity” through his directive to reinstate citizenship of those who deserve it, including Saad al-Ajmi.

MP Nayef al-Mirdas pointed out: “Joy pervades every home today. A thousand thanks to HH the Emir for taking this decision.”

The Kuwaiti government in mid-2014 stripped at least four opposition figures and dozens of their family members of their nationality. The decision came after large street protests demanding political reforms, which also led to the arrest of opposition member Muslem al-Barak.

The decision also included Islamist former opposition MP Abdullah al-Barghash and over 50 members of his extended family, as well as former spokesman of the opposition Popular Action Movement Saad al-Ajami, who was later deported to Saudi Arabia. In addition to that, owner of the Alam Al Youm newspaper Ahmad Jabr al-Shemmari had his nationality revoked and Islamist preacher Nabil al-Awadhi also lost his nationality.

Several of those affected by the revocation sued the government.

The move to restore their status comes a few months after the opposition participated in the latest elections in November after a four-year boycott and winning almost half of the 50 seats.

The MPs threatened to debrief the prime minister if the issue was not resolved. The speaker and several MPs vowed to find a solution and establish cooperation between legislative and executive authorities in the matter.