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Kuwait extends detention for arrested activists | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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KUWAIT CITY, (AFP) — Kuwait’s public prosecutor on Sunday extended the detention of 24 opposition activists for three weeks pending trial for storming parliament while freeing seven others on bail, their lawyer said.

Thousands of supporters meanwhile camped outside the palace of justice for the fourth night in a row in solidarity with the detainees ahead of an opposition mass rally on Monday to press for the government’s resignation.

Al-Humaidi al-Subaie, who heads the legal defence team of the activists, said in a statement that seven of them were freed on bail of 1,000 dinars ($3,600).

The large crowds demonstrated against the decision which was announced by the prosecutor in the early hours of Sunday, following an all-night investigation.

Subaie said the activists were interrogated on charges of storming parliament, damaging public property, assaulting police and others for which they face prison sentences of between six months and life.

Protesters displayed Saturday night a four-meter (yard) wooden gavel saying it is a replacement for the original gavel that parliament officials accused activists of stealing, which was one of the charges.

Hundreds of opposition activists stormed parliament on November 16 after clashes with riot police that followed a large protest demanding the resignation of the prime minister and the dissolution of parliament.

Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah last week called the incident a “black day” for Kuwait.

The detained activists include academics, doctors, writers and several opposition MPs who led the storming of parliament who are expected to be questioned after their immunity is lifted.

Some 20 of them went on hunger strike on Friday to protest against “illegal and oppressive detention,” and maltreatment. Some were freed and the rest continued the strike, legal sources said.

The opposition plans to stage a rally on Monday on the eve of a questioning in parliament for Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah over corruption charges.

The oil-rich emirate has seen mounting tension between the government, which is dominated by members of the ruling Al-Sabah family, and the opposition.

The opposition has accused Sheikh Nasser, a senior member of the ruling family, of transferring public funds into his overseas bank accounts. The government has denied the charge.