Wanted Kuwaiti MP Tabtabai returns for mother's funeral

Wanted Kuwaiti MP Waleed al-Tabtabai hands himself to police after returning home for mother's funeral
2 min read
26 November, 2019
Former opposition lawmaker Waleed al-Tabtabai returned to Kuwait earlier this week to attend his mother's funeral.
Former MP and opposition leader Waleed al-Tabtabai returned to Kuwait [AFP/Getty]
Former Kuwaiti MP Waleed Al-Tabtabai returned to Kuwait to bury his mother and then handed himself into the authorities, Kuwaiti media reported.

Tabtabai turned himself on Monday after his mother's funeral proceedings had been completed so that the court ruling against him could be carried out.

The former lawmaker returned to Kuwait on Friday despite being wanted by police for storming parliament along with other demonstrators in 2011.

After being sentenced with a three and a half-year jail term for the 2011 protest and expelled from parliament, Tabtabai fled to Turkey. His mother died in hospital while visiting him there.

The former opposition leader said Kuwait's Emir Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad gave him permission to return to the country to bury his mother.

"I thank His Highness the Emir on his kind gesture of allowing me to attend the burial and receiving condolences for my mother. This is not uncharacteristic of His Highness," Tabtabai said following his arrival in Kuwait, according to Gulf News.

Tabtabai also revealed that he intends to retire from political life and return to academic work and university teaching after his release from prison.

Tabtabai and several other lawmakers stormed Kuwait's parliament in 2011 to protest lawmakers being denied the right to grill then prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah over corruption allegations.

The oil-rich Gulf state saw hundreds of people join an anti-corruption protest outside Kuwait's parliament earlier this month.

The Kuwaiti prime minister resigned two weeks ago along with his cabinet, amid allegations of infighting between ministers and criticism of their performance.

Minister of Finance Nayef Al-Hajraf resigned last month to avoid being questioned in parliament over violating Islamic law by charging interest on loans taken by retired Kuwaitis from the state-run pension agency. 

And Public Works Minister Jenan Bushehri announced her resignation following a lengthy grilling in parliament during which she came under fire for alleged mismanagement of her portfolios and poor use of public funds.

Kuwait is the only Gulf state with a fully elected parliament that enjoys wide legislative powers and can vote ministers out of office.

The oil-rich country has been shaken by political disputes between lawmakers and the ruling family-led government for over a decade, with parliament and cabinets dissolved several times.

A demonstration held outside parliament last week over alleged rampant corruption was reminiscent of past crises that have marred political life in the country.

This story was updated to reflect that Al-Tabtabai had handed himself into the authorities.

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