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Lawmaker proposes bill to consider IS terrorist group – Ruwaei withdraws resignation; MP calls for pay hikes

KUWAIT: MP Saleh Ashour yesterday submitted a draft law calling to consider the so-called Islamic State, a jihadist group fighting in Iraq and Syria, as a terrorist organization. The proposal comes a week after security agencies broke up three IS cells that were plotting suicide attacks in Kuwait. Members of the cells have confessed in detail to plotting attacks on a mosque and an interior ministry target.

In his draft law, which will be considered only when the National Assembly comes back from summer recess in October, Ashour called for imposing a jail term of between 10 and 20 years for convicted members of any terrorist group under Kuwaiti laws and those who establish a terrorist group or call for establishing such groups. The bill stipulates a one-year jail term of those who use logos of terrorist groups or support them in the media or promote them on social media.

The draft law also gives the government the right to include any group in the terror list whenever public interests require this. IS, known in Arabic as Daesh, carried out a deadly suicide attack at a mosque in Kuwait City last year that killed 26 worshippers and wounded scores others. The court of cassation, the country’s highest court whose rulings are final, has upheld a death sentence against a suspect who drove the bomber to the site of the mosque and provided him with other forms of assistance. The court also sentenced eight others to terms between two and 15 years in jail.

Kuwaiti courts have passed in the past two years several verdicts sentencing people convicted of being members or financiers of Daesh to various periods in jail. Several other cases involving dozens of people are still being heard in courts. The Kuwaiti penal code does not specifically consider IS as a terrorist group but members linked to the group are being tried for having contacts with an outlawed organization.

Meanwhile, National Assembly speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanem said yesterday that MP Awdah Al-Ruwaei has withdrawn his resignation which he submitted last week because the Assembly refused to discuss a report on corruption prepared by an Assembly panel he chairs. Ruwaei threatened that he would quit his seat if the Assembly did not debate the report. MPs then overwhelmingly voted against the debate and the lawmaker immediately submitted his resignation. Ghanem said that the lawmaker withdrew the resignation after requests by him and other MPs.

MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah said yesterday he will submit a proposal calling for justice for tens of thousands of civil servants whose salaries have not been raised for the past six years. He said that since 2010, special pay hikes had been given to large sections of government employees but around 107,000 of them were excluded from such raises and have been waiting for the so-called strategic payroll alternative plan for all employees. The new payscale has not been finalized and these employees have not seen any increase in their wages. Therefore, Zalzalah said he will propose immediate salary hikes for them.

By B Izzak

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