Saturday, January 15, 2011

Uprighting The Law

Autopsy Proves Foul Play In Defendant’s Death: 
Interior Minister Offers To Resign

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 13: The Minister of Interior, Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, resigned on Thursday after suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of a Kuwaiti citizen, while in police custody, were discovered. 
Autopsy Proves Foul Play In Defendant’s Death Interior Minister Offers To Resign “I have submitted my resignation, bearing my responsibilities and duties and implementing what I have previously stated in Parliament. It does not honor me to remain in a ministry that tortures citizens,” he officially said.

Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan said late Thursday the Interior Minister had been asked to stay in his post until the probe had been completed. There were also rumors the resignation had been rejected.

The minister was severely under fire from members of Parliament for the torture of the victim, Mohammed Al-Mutairi, who was caught trading in alcohol and drugs. Most have threatened to grill him and have called for his resignation.

Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled reportedly was not aware of the recently discovered evidence as his earlier statement at the parliamentary session on Wednesday contradicted the recent findings. He also referred a high-ranking MoI official to the investigations unit as he was responsible for the data contained in the interior minister’s initial statements.

Prior to the announcement of resignation, opposition MP Musallam Al-Barrak accused the interior minister of hindering investigations by intimidating witnesses to the police brutality of Mohammed Al-Mutairi, who allegedly died due to severe torture early Tuesday morning.

Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled had officially stated that the victim was found in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh on Jan 8 with 24 bottles of alcohol and that he had died due to chest pains. He had denied his torture at the hands of detectives because the victim was said to have confessed to his crimes.
Meanwhile, according to a forensics report obtained by Al-Barrak, Al-Mutairi was bleeding from his hands, feet, thighs and stomach and a stick was inserted in a sensitive part of his body, indicating torture.

Al-Barrak revealed on Thursday that the Criminal Investigations Department brought in a witness to the death, a man named Sayah Al-Rushaidi, after they’ve failed to fabricate a charge of vehicle theft against him. The MP also said that another witness to the police brutality, an Egyptian building watchman named Abdulaziz Abdulsatar, is allegedly currently detained at the Abdullah Port and the MoI is planning to deport him.
“The minister need not bother to fabricate evidence because we have the certified copy of the forensic doctor’s report from the oil company hospital before it was pulled,” said Al-Barrak, speaking to the press.
He further added that the report initially identified the deceased person as an ‘unknown’ because the five people who were with the victim when he was delivered to the hospital had fled “like cowards”. Two hours later, two of the runaway men bought the victim’s identification card to the hospital, Al-Barrak said.
The parliamentary panel assigned to investigate the death and torture of the Kuwaiti citizen while in police custody held its first meeting on Thursday and decided to call in all those involved to testify in the case on Sunday. MP Ali Al-Omair was assigned as the committee’s chairman while MP Marzook Al-Ghamin was assigned as the rapporteur.

Al-Barrak added that the doctor who compiled the forensics report regarding Al-Mutairi’s death was taken by a senior forensics officer to meet Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled Thursday morning. This indicates that the minister is putting pressure on the doctor until the forensic report matches his statements, Al-Barrak predicted.
The MP warned the interior minister of interfering in the case and manipulating its details to match his statements as well as threatening and pressuring the witnesses. He said that grilling Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled has become inevitable and urged the committee to hurry investigations to find out the truth.
The MoI subsequently released a statement admitting that there are suspicious circumstances to the death of Al-Mutairi and has referred all parties involved to the Public Prosecution.

A number of Parliament members welcomed the interior minister’s resignation. MP Faisal Al-Muslim praised Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled Al-Sabah’s for resigning and urged His Highness the Prime Minister to immediately accept it and hold all those involved in the torture and death accountable. Al-Muslim had also previously doubted cooperation from the former minister during the investigations.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior announced Thursday that the post mortem report proved that Al-Mutairi was murdered.

The entire case, including the ministry’s staffers involved, has been referred to the Public prosecution, the ministry said in a press release here.

The ministry, out of full commitment to the principles of transparency, will show all facts to the public opinion, the statement said, reiterating an earlier statement issued soon after the death.
Sheikh Jaber promptly ordered investigating the death of the defendant thoroughly.
The ministry renewed resolute to take the necessary legal and punitive measures against any of staffers who proves to commit any irregularity.

An Interior Ministry-appointed Forensic Commission found on Thursday that the death of Mutairi at a police station was a suspected Criminal Act, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also referred the case along with the suspects to the public prosecution service to take any necessary legal action, it said.

Source: Arab Times Online - January 13, 2011


Tunisian President Resign

Tunisian President Zine El-Abedine Ben Ali who had been in power since 1987 had left the country on Friday.

His plane was said to have landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 

The president left Tunisia amid violent anti-government protests that drove him from power after 23 years.
Tunisians in the Gulf generally welcomed the veteran leader's departure, as anger over soaring unemployment and corruption spilled into the streets.

Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi took over as president and would remain as caretaker leader until early elections. Read More Here.

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