World

Kuwait opposition leader sentenced to 5 years

KUWAIT CITY — A leader of Kuwait’s opposition has been sentenced to five years in prison on charges of insulting the emir during a political rally last year, opposition groups said Monday.

The sentence against Mussallam al-Barrack, former Parliament member, could rekindle street protests that flared during disputes over parliamentary elections in December.

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Barrack led a boycott movement to protest changes in voting rules ordered by the emir.

Violent clashes erupted after Barrack was detained and authorities temporarily imposed rules that limited public gatherings.

In a speech in October, Barrack accused the emir of running the country as an ‘‘autocracy.’’ Opposition groups and Kuwait media reported the Monday sentencing.

Last week, Kuwait officials began considering a media law that reports say could bring fines of about $1 million for insulting the ruling family.

In a separate development Monday, Kuwait said it hosted a Palestinian leader for the first time in more than 20 years after ties were broken over the 1990 Iraq invasion of the Gulf state.

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At that time, Yasser Arafat, then Palestinian leader, was perceived as sympathetic to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and opposed to the US-led invasion to oust Iraqi forces.

Associated Press

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