Middle East News
Opposition question Kuwaiti prime minister over crackdown
Dec 28, 2010, 17:42 GMT
Kuwait City/Cairo - Members of the Kuwaiti opposition began questioning the prime minister on Tuesday over a recent police crackdown on an opposition gathering, the state news agency reported.
'I am ready to be questioned and I want the debate now,' Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Sabah said at the opening of the parliamentary session.
The speaker of the house, Jassem al-Kharafi, announced the questioning would take place in a closed-door session at the request of the government as stated by Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Roudhan Al-Roudhan.
Security forces were seen outside parliament preparing to prevent gatherings outside the building, after opposition members called upon the public to gather in support of the questioning, the Kuwait Times reported.
The request to question the premier came from three opposition lawmakers - Musallam Al-Barrak, Saleh Al-Mulla and Jamaan Al-Harbash, who represent the liberal, nationalist, and Islamist opposition blocs.
The opposition says al-Sabah may have violated public freedoms, claiming he is responsible for a crackdown by Kuwaiti special forces on a gathering of opposition members on December 8.
Security forces allegedly beat people with batons, leaving over 12 people injured, including four parliamentarians.
Kuwaiti authorities allegedly closed the office of the al-Jazeera satellite channel after it aired extensive coverage of the police crackdown, accusing the channel of 'interference in domestic affairs.'
Footage on the Doha-based channel showed several people, including lawmakers, were injured when police used force to disperse an opposition gathering.
This will be the eighth questioning of Sheikh Nasser since he assumed the post in February 2006. Opposition lawmakers have forced him to resign five times.
Last year, the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, reappointed his nephew Sheikh Nasser despite attempts by the opposition to question the prime minister.
They accused him of misusing government funds, mismanaging the economy, and breaching the country's constitution.