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Kuwait ruling family member given suspended jail term: Newspapers

Reuters , Saturday 12 Dec 2015
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A Kuwaiti court has given a suspended prison sentence to Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family and a powerbroker in international sport, for quoting remarks by the country's ruler without permission, local media said.

The Gulf Arab state's constitution describes Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah as "immune and inviolable", and quoting him without permission from his court is punishable under Kuwaiti law.

The Criminal Court gave Sheikh Ahmad, who is president of the Olympic Council of Asia and sits on the International Olympic Committee, a six-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay 1,000 dinars ($3,300), the Arabic-language al-Qabas newspaper reported.

He had been accused of quoting the emir without permission in an interview with a local television station in 2014, al-Qabas reported.

Although al Qabas did not cite the comments made by Sheikh Ahmed, he was at the time at the centre of a controversy after filing a legal complaint concerning two former officials.

As part of his complaint, Sheikh Ahmed submitted audio and video clips seemed to suggest that former prime minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah and former parliament speaker Jassem al-Kharafi were suspected of contacting a foreign power, of money laundering and stealing public funds, state news agency KUNA said at the time.

Kuwait's public prosecutor dropped the inquiry in March, ruling the tape was bogus.

The English language Arab Times said the trial also saw Sheikh Ahmad accused of violating a ban by the public prosecutor on publicly discussing the case.

According to the Arab Times, the prosecutor's ban prohibits Sheikh Ahmad from using phrases that "instigate chaos or cast doubt on the integrity of the General Public Prosecutor", as well as members of the judicial authority.

Sheikh Ahmad's lawyer, Falah al-Hajraf, confirmed an initial ruling had been made in the case on Thursday. He told Reuters on Saturday that he would decide how to proceed once he had seen details of the ruling.

Local media said Sheikh Ahmad, who is outside the country, plans to appeal the verdict.

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