Kuwait’s Emir issues amnesty to dissidents of 2011 uprising

Also pardoned were members of the alleged Abdali cell

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah has pardoned a group of prisoners in an amnesty intended to defuse a political row. Among those released included Shia Kuwaitis convicted in 2016 for spying for Iran and Lebanon’s Iran-allied Hezbollah.

The amnesty was a key demand of opposition lawmakers locked in a dispute with the government over the Prime Minister’s refusal to be questioned in Parliament. Earlier on Sunday, the Emir accepted the government’s resignation in another step to end the feud.

The Emir on Saturday issued two decrees granting pardons and reduced sentences of 35 people, including former lawmakers in self-exile in Turkey sentenced for storming the Parliament building in 2011 protests against corruption.

The decrees pardoned two members of the alleged ‘Abdali cell’, named after the place where a weapons cache was discovered in a 2015 raid, along with four convicted of covering for the group, and halved the sentences of 18 others, some of whom had already served the commuted term.

Women threw flower petals as more than 10 prisoners were seen exiting a bus in a parking lot outside the central prison, where more than 200 relatives and friends gathered to meet them, embracing amid chants of “There is no god but God”.

Authorities have so far not disclosed how many convicts were released on Sunday, but one lawyer said 20 had been freed.

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