Sheikh Salman meets sports panel, ready to face grilling

MP proposes amnesty law for political prisoners

KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s sports and youth panel yesterday discussed with Information and Youth Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah steps taken by the government to lift international sanctions against Kuwaiti sports. Head of the committee MP Saadoun Hammad said the minister said the government will today send to the National Assembly a new draft law for sports that is compatible with the Olympic Charter. He said that sports specialists have been invited to another meeting tomorrow to assess the situation and decide the next course of action.

Rapporteur of the panel MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl said that the letter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to Sheikh Salman has changed the course of discussions in the meeting. In a letter dated Dec 31, the IOC rejected a request by the Kuwaiti government to lift the suspension temporarily to allow Kuwaiti teams to take part in international competitions until sports legislations are changed. The IOC demanded that Kuwait should amend sports legislations to comply with the Olympic Charter, reinstate the Kuwait Olympic Committee and federations that were dissolved by the government and withdraw all court cases against international sports bodies for the IOC to reconsider the suspension.

The minister told reporters after the meeting that he listened to comments of the committee members to the IOC letter and its demands, adding that he explained that the government emphasizes basic principles of respecting the constitution and the law, Kuwait’s sovereignty and cooperation to achieve the country’s interests. He said that the IOC has demanded the withdrawal of cases against sports bodies and that the government is considering the matter. He said the cases relate to demands for compensation for illegally depriving Kuwait and its athletes from taking part in international events including the Rio Olympics.

Sheikh Salman also said he is prepared to face a grilling threatened by opposition lawmaker Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, who said that if the minister fails to lift the suspension by Jan 11, he will file to grill him.

Meanwhile, MP Majed Al-Mutairi yesterday submitted a draft law stipulating a general amnesty for all political prisoners or detainees who were jailed or are being prosecuted for expressing political opinions. The bill applies to all freedom of expression cases but excludes cases that are related to terrorism. But it also states that if the pardoned people repeat the same crime within five years, they have to serve the sentence from the start.

Opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said yesterday that he plans to submit a draft law soon calling to scrap all price hikes approved on electricity and water, adding that although the increase doesn’t includes Kuwaitis’ homes, it will impact them negatively. He said that in some sectors, power charges were increased by 1,200 percent and affected companies will seek to recoup the loss by raising the cost of their services and products. He also called on the government to stop squandering public funds before raising the prices of essential commodities and services.

By B Izzak

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