Kuwait MP proposes jail terms for Hizballah supporters

Kuwait MP proposes jail terms for Hizballah supporters
2 min read
24 July, 2017
A Kuwaiti Islamist member of parliament proposed legislation calling for members and supporters of Lebanon's Shia Hizballah movement be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail.

Kuwait accuses the Lebanese militant group of meddling within its borders [AFP]

Members and supporters of Lebanon's Shia Hizballah movement should be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail, a Kuwaiti Islamist member of parliament suggested on Monday.

The proposed legislation, submitted to parliament by MP Waleed al-Tabtabai, proposes the Iran-backed Hizballah be classified a "terrorist organisation". 

It also stipulates a jail term of between 10 and 20 years for members of the group and anyone who shows any form of loyalty to the group. 

The draft legislation also proposes jail terms of up to five years for anyone displaying Hizballah’s yellow logo or any symbol associated with the group. 

Monday’s suggestion is the latest move in a nationwide crackdown against Hizballah in Kuwait.

Last month, Kuwait’s Supreme Court convicted 21 Shias of forming a "terrorist cell" with alleged ties to Iran and Hizballah - they were allegedly plotting attacks in the Gulf state.

On Friday, took its concerns to Lebanon, where it protested against the alleged training by Hizballah of the convicted terror cell.

Kuwait's ambassador in Beirut delivered a letter which confirmed the emirate's supreme court had found that "Hizballah took part in contacts, coordinating meetings, paid funds and provided arms and military training in Lebanon" for the defendants.

It called on Lebanon to take "the necessary measures to curb these disgraceful practices" by Hizballah as it is a partner in the government, ambassador Abdulaal al-Quenai told the official KUNA news agency.

It demanded that pressure be put on the Shia militant group, which has ministers in the Lebanese government, to ensure there was no repetition.

The protest follows Kuwait's expulsion of 15 Iranian diplomats on Thursday over Tehran's alleged links to those convicted.

Iran said the allegation is baseless

Fourteen of the 21 convicted members are on the run. Local media said they fled to Iran by sea.

Unlike neighbouring Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, Kuwait maintains diplomatic relations with Iran, but sectarian issues remain sensitive.

Around a third of Kuwait's native population of 1.35 million are Shias.

Agencies contributed to this report.