KUWAIT (Reuters) – A Kuwaiti court has sentenced nine men to two years in jail apiece for storming a television station ahead of a parliamentary election earlier this year, their lawyer said.
The nine, all members of large Kuwaiti tribes, clashed with police outside the offices of Al Watan television channel in January, ahead of elections in the major Gulf oil producer.
Two more men were fined as part of the ruling, defense lawyer Al-Humaidi al-Subaie said on his Twitter account.
“Unfortunately the court imprisoned the first nine (members) of those who broke into Al Watan (station) for two years and gave a fine of $200 to the 10th and 11th,” he wrote.
Nabeel al-Fadli, a lawmaker seen as supportive of the government, was in the studios at the time and his presence triggered the unrest, local media reported.
People from Kuwaiti tribes tend to support opposition candidates in elections, while the country’s urban and merchant class are, typically, more sympathetic to the government which is dominated by the ruling family.
Comment made by MPs which were deemed insulting to certain Kuwaiti tribes have triggered demonstrations in the past. While Kuwaitis protest regularly over political and tribal issues, the majority of demonstrations are peaceful.
Kuwait has been at a political standstill for several months after the its top court effectively dissolved the opposition-dominated parliament, which was elected in February, basing its decision on a technicality.
The previous, more government-tilted assembly that the court reinstated has been unable to convene due to a boycott by MPs. Analysts expect the emir will dissolve parliament soon and call for fresh parliament elections this year or next.