News ID: 207656
Published: 0518 GMT January 06, 2018

Kuwaiti political prisoner launches hunger strike

Kuwaiti political prisoner launches hunger strike

A political activist in Kuwait has launched a prison hunger strike to demand the legal procedure that led to his seven-year jail sentence be abolished.

Sulaiman Binjassem began fasting in prison on Thursday, his family members said on Saturday, adding that the prisoner’s main demand was a mistrial.

Binjassem was sentenced to jail along 66 other convicts in November as authorities found them guilty of involvement in protests in 2011 that led to the brief capture of the Kuwaiti parliament.

Family members said Binjassem’s hunger strike was indefinite and was meant to protest the unfair nature of the trial that led to the 2017 ruling. They said the court that handed down the verdict failed to allow witnesses to testify.

Binjassem’s lawyer Mohammed al-Hamidi said defense attorneys had yet to file an appeal of the jail sentences due to the refusal of the Kuwaiti appeals court. The lawyer, who heads the Kuwait Human Rights Society, defends six of the 67 convicted.

Kuwait, a tiny Arab state in the Persian Gulf region, has faced growing calls for reform in the country’s political system since a wave of protests began in the Arab world around seven years ago. The protests have mainly targeted the office of the premiership and there have been hardly any opposition to the rule of the Al-Sabah monarchy, a family that has been in power for around 250 years.

Four of the 67 opposition figures who were convicted in November over calls for a probe into corruption and bribery in 2011 announced earlier last week that they had initiated a political bloc to represent dissent. This comes as the oil-rich Kuwait is relatively tolerant of political activism but it does not recognize political parties.



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