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Kuwait's Opposition on Trial

While many are hailing Kuwaiti opposition figure Musallam al-Barrak as a symbol of rebellion, his public stances reveal a conservative man with a controversial agenda, Mona Kareem writes.
Kuwaiti former member of parliament and opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak (L) greets supporters from his house in Andulos, after a ruling sentenced him to jail for insulting the emir, April 15, 2013. Barrak was sentenced to five years in jail on Monday for insulting the emir, his lawyer said, in a ruling that brought thousands of people to the streets in protest. The Kuwaiti criminal court found Barrak guilty of insulting Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah in a speech in October last year in which he app

Earlier this week, Kuwait’s court sentenced the opposition front man Musallam al-Barrak to five years in prison for insulting the emir, an act criminalized by the Kuwaiti constitution.

The verdict has been awaited for months and it was not the only case that al-Barrak was facing. Al-Barrak was also to attend another trial over storming the parliament with other MPs and protesters in November 2011. When al-Barrak was arrested in November 2012 for insulting the emir in a public speech, thousands marched to the central jail, prompting his release in less than 48 hours. We thought this man was too powerful to be jailed, so why would authorities commit political suicide by angering his supporters? No one can frighten the authorities anymore it seems, and here are some factors to consider:

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