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MPs demand Iran apology for offending HH the Amir – Dashti jailed for 14 years, six months in absentia

Abdulhameed Dashti
Abdulhameed Dashti

KUWAIT: A number of MPs yesterday strongly criticized Iran over remarks aired by Fars news agency deemed insulting to HH the Amir, who a day earlier criticized Iran in a speech at the Arab summit. MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji said the government must summon the Iranian ambassador to officially protest the abusive statements by the Iranian news agency and demand an official apology.

He said that if Iran does not send an apology, the government should recall the Kuwaiti ambassador from Tehran and take other diplomatic measures, especially since the insult was directed at the head of state. Turaiji said the National Assembly will not accept Iran’s continuous interference in Kuwait’s internal affairs and is expecting an urgent move by the government. If nothing happens, the Assembly may call for an emergency session to debate actions to take or the Assembly bureau may hold a meeting in the presence of the prime minister and other ministers.

MP Mohammad Al-Jabri called on the government to issue a clear response against those who undermine the Amir. MP Ahmad Al-Azemi also strongly condemned Iran for its abuse of HH the Amir and insisted that Kuwait should not accept Iran’s interference in its internal affairs and should reject Iran’s terror acts.

Meanwhile, the criminal court yesterday sentenced controversial MP Abdulhameed Dashti to14 years and six months in jail in absentia for insulting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and urging people to join Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The court sentenced Dashti, who has been living in Britain for the past four months, to 11 years and six months for insulting Saudi Arabia on Twitter, calling on people to join the Lebanese group Hezbollah and spreading false news about alleged Saudi interference in Kuwaiti institutions. In a second case, he was sentenced to three years in jail for insulting Bahrain and the 2011 Saudi military intervention in the Gulf nation to assist the government against protests.

Dashti, a staunch supporter of Tehran and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, described the verdicts on his Twitter account as “very strange” and “oppressive”, and vowed that he will not back down. He did not say whether he will come back to contest the jail terms. According to the ruling, if Dashti returns to the country, he will be arrested immediately to start serving the sentence. He will not be able however to challenge the rulings while he remains overseas.

Dashti also faces several other similar cases of mainly insulting Saudi Arabia on Twitter or issuing statements to the media, accusing the Saudi government and the Wahhabi religious school, predominant in the kingdom, of spreading terrorism in the region and the world. MPs repeatedly debated Dashti’s controversial statements against Saudi Arabia and demanded in a session a few months ago to revoke his membership in the house. But eventually, the Assembly accepted a letter from Dashti claiming he was undergoing medical treatment in Britain.

In May last year, Dashti filed a request to question the foreign minister over Kuwait’s participation in the Saudi-led attack on Yemen’s Houthi rebels, but the Assembly rejected the move, saying it was against the constitution. Dashti was elected in the July 2013 general polls.

By B Izzak

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