The Straits Times
Published on Nov 01, 2012

Protest in Kuwait after activist held for insulting emir


KUWAIT (REUTERS) - Kuwaiti police used teargas and smoke bombs on Wednesday to disperse thousands of protesters marching on a prison where an opposition leader is being held on charges of insulting the emir, witnesses said.

The unrest comes amid rising tension caused by changes to the election law which the opposition had condemned as an attempt to give pro-government candidates an advantage in parliamentary elections on Dec 1. The opposition are boycotting the poll.

Defence lawyers said on Wednesday prosecutors had charged Musallam al-Barrack on three counts related to a speech in which he made critical remarks about the 83-year-old emir, and ordered him held for 10 days pending further questioning.

Thousands later marched towards the prison demanding Barrak's release. Some carried a poster showing Mr Barrak behind bars. "Set free the conscience of the nation, Musallam al-Barrak", a caption read.