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MPs up in arms over death of 2 cadets at military academy

Top military officers suspended; Reports show cadets died of dehydration


MP Mohammad Hayef

KUWAIT: Lawmakers yesterday expressed outrage at what they described a “murder” at of two cadets at the military academy during training and called for strict punishments to those who were directly responsible. Opposition Islamist MP Mohammad Hayef said that two cadets were “killed” in what he described as a “massacre” at the academy when they were forced to stand under the scorching heat of the sun for hours while carrying heavy weights during training.

He said several other cadets were suffering of injuries one of them in a grave condition as the senior officers also refused to give them any water. Hayef said provisional medical reports have shown that the two cadets had died of dehydration and malfunction of vital organs. Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah cut short his treatment from cancer in Britain and returned to the country to lead investigations into the issue.

Sheikh Nasser ordered the formation of a committee from outside the ministry to probe the causes of the death of the two students and the injury of several others. The minister yesterday ordered the suspension of all officials linked to the incident and training while the chief of staff General Mohammad Al-Khadher ordered major changes to training programs at the academy.

But MP Hayef said that the suspension of the officers is not sufficient and they deserve to be sent to jail until the results of the investigations are published. He called on the relatives of the deceased and those injured to file complaints to the Public Prosecution and to the National Assembly Human Rights Panel over the incidents. The lawmaker said that when the panel receives the complaints, it will summon the chief of staff and other senior army commanders for a meeting.

He held the chief of staff responsible for what happened now and also in previous similar incidents when ministry investigations blamed such deaths to natural illness of the students. MP Osama Al-Shaheen praised the actions taken by the Defense Minister so far especially the suspension of 11 top military officers but demanded that the investigation should also include previous similar cases. MP Riyadh Al-Adasani praised the minister’s actions but he said that he will continue to monitor the outcome of the investigation and will decide his next course of action.

By B Izzak

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