KUWAIT: The constitutional court accepted yesterday to review petitions challenging that article 25 of the penal code, which deals with crimes of insulting HH the Amir or undermining his status, is not in line with the Kuwaiti constitution. The controversial article stipulates a jail term of up to five years for insulting the Amir or undermining his status and authority in public and also considers these acts as state security crimes. The petitions committee of the constitutional court yesterday ruled that two petitions submitted by lawyers challenging article 25 “are serious enough to be reviewed by the constitutional court” and set Oct 31 for the court to start the hearing, which may take months.
Based on the article, several opposition youth activists have been sentenced to various jail terms on charges of writing remarks on Twitter deemed offensive to the Amir by the courts. In addition, a number of other activists and at least four former opposition MPs, including Mussallam Al-Barrak, are still on trial over similar charges and their cases could be affected by the expected verdict of the constitutional court. Article 25 of the penal code has been repeatedly criticized by human rights activists as violating the freedom of speech which is guaranteed by the constitution. International human rights bodies have also criticized the article several times and demanded abolishing it.
In a related matter, MP Saadoun Hammad and two candidates for the National Assembly elections Meshari Al-Hussaini and Saud Al-Subaie yesterday denied in court accusations that they were involved in acts of vote-buying. The interior ministry announced during the July election that it had busted cases of vote-buying by the three candidates. Only Hammad won a seat while the other two failed. If convicted, they could be handed several years in jail.
In other business, National Assembly Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem said yesterday that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has given his total support for resolving the housing problem which MPs have selected to be the top issue in the next term opening Oct 29. Ghanem said that the Assembly is expected to hold a special session to discuss the housing crisis in Kuwait and all concerned ministers are expected to attend to review the issue from all dimensions.
In a poll conducted by the Assembly in summer, a majority of Kuwaitis polled said housing was their top concern and as a result, the Assembly decided to accord the issue their utmost attention. Ghanem also said a committee has been formed to prepare the Assembly’s priorities during the next term and it plans to meet with the government for coordination.
In another issue, Finance Minister Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah denied yesterday that he said that the government planned to stop subsidies on a number of commodities and services. The minister said that what he said was that a study is underway to assess subsidies and rationalize some of them so subsidies should go to those who require it. He insisted that any measure will not undermine low-paid Kuwaitis.
By B Izzak
KUWAIT: Some countries are considered a source of contagious and dangerous diseases and the possibility of spreading these diseases to other people are high, so the citizens of these countries are subject to medical tests before entering the country and every time thereafter while renewing their residencies in Kuwait. In general the medical test is required for all nationalities as part of visa requirements before issuing a visa or entering the country.
Some expats contact infectious diseases before coming back to Kuwait from their vacations, which causes danger to other people who come in contact with them. According to a local Arabic daily, the head of the ports and borders health department Dr Sami Al-Nasser announced the re-testing procedure will be applied to citizens from 31 countries who are residing in Kuwait after returning from their vacations. The test will take place at the time of iqama renewal.
Nasser said the countries are Niger, Uganda, Cameron, Angola, Congo, Central Africa, South Africa, Djibouti, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Benin, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Chad, Togo, Tonga, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Namibia, Somalia and India. Nasser said the test is precautionary so that no infection is transferred to Kuwait from the above-mentioned countries, “as we always follow the necessary procedures to prevent transmission of infections and chronic diseases”.
Col Adel Al-Hashash, PR and Moral Guidance Director of the Ministry of Interior, told Kuwait Times that this decision was taken by the Ministry of Health and is applied on the citizens of the mentioned countries. “Before entering Kuwait, a visa applicant should have an official medical certificate from his home country approved by the Kuwaiti embassy in that country to get the visa.
Then these expats will have to undergo a medical test here with every visa renewal. And if they don’t, their files will be blocked and they won’t be able to do any paperwork,” he stated. 45-year-old Moneta, an Indian citizen living and working in Kuwait for the last 17 years, said the new rule is ‘totally discriminatory’. This new rule will not help the authorities meet the objective of purging the country of contagious diseases or chronic ailments.
Residents who reenter the country from the West also can spread such diseases and cause danger to the Kuwaiti population. It is also quite tedious and timeconsuming procedure and can put considerable financial burden on many expats if they are forced to do medical tests whenever they exit and reenter the country,” he pointed out. Manal, 39, approves of this decision and even suggests increasing the number of countries to be added to the list of the above-mentioned 31 countries. “I think that these and other countries are dangerous as many infectious diseases are spread there due to different reason including poverty and low levels of education.
Many of them even don’t realize they are sick and may infect other people. My friend’s maid from Sri Lanka has been working at her house for more than 8 years, and after her last vacation to her country, she was infected with HIV through her husband who suffered from this disease and didn’t even know it. Her sponsor only knew recently after she was injured and the hospital did a medical test on her to find out she has AIDS. The family suffered a lot as they had doubts of being somehow infected but thanks to God, they did tests and they came back negative,” she explained.
By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: In a bid to place Kuwaitis in leading positions, the Ministry of Education recently terminated the contracts of all expatriate heads of department (HoDs) working in Ahmadi educational area schools who were in service for 25 years or more. In this regard, MoE’s Human Resources Manager, Soud Al-Juwaiser asked Ahmadi Educational Zone Director, Mona Al-Sallal to inform all concerned employees and get their signature on notification letters to avoid any possible legal claims. Al-Juwaiser added that terminated expatriates would get the legal termination notice as per the contract signed with them.
Meanwhile, informed sources expressed amazement at delaying such notifications till October while the ministry should have notified the concerned teachers by the end of last year so that they could make proper arrangements instead of starting the school year as usual, especially since many of them book round tickets because they know they will still be working the following year. “Those who have been in service for 25 years should be rewarded instead of being punished in this way”, stressed the sources pointing out that the delay in notifying the concerned employees and appointing their replacements would create a great deal of confusion, especially since the ministry was still suffering the aftermath of forcing citizens with more than 35 years of service to retire. Notably, MoE tends to Kuwaitize educational jobs through a plan set in collaboration with teachers colleges to qualify enough Kuwaitis to teach various subjects in a bid to reduce dependence on expatriate teachers.
KUWAIT: As Eid Al-Adha approaches, prices of sheep is getting higher causing a big dent in the citizens’ wallets, hence, they called on concerned authorities to control these prices within a reasonable limit.
In separate interviews, the citizens complained that there was an unjustified rise in sheep prices this Eid Al-Adha, which literally means ‘Festival of the sacrifice’ in Arabic. For this reason, buying sheep for sacrifice was a common preparation among all families.
Saad Al-Senafi said people would not be able to perform this Islamic ritual and purchase overly-priced sheep due to some traders’ exploitation. “If you walk around the market, you will notice the absence of any control over prices,” he added.
Meanwhile, Abdulkareem Al-Turki shockingly said “It is impossible to comprehend that a sheep that weighs less than 20 kilograms is sold for KD 130.” He added that prices would even go higher, as the Eid came closer.
On his part, Nayef Al-Daihani said it was natural that prices got higher since the supply of sheep in the market was low; thus, some traders took advantage of this “supply and demand” situation, especially in the absence of any price control.
Fahad Salmeen suggested that the best solution to curb the rise in prices was to create a penalizing system and flooding the market with cattle. Ali Al-Hamli said that he resorted to charitable organizations to buy sheep where he had to pay a small amount of money that did not exceed KD 25.
Sheep traders, on their part, said that the rise of prices was not only limited to Kuwait, but it also affected various countries. The type, size, weight and the breeding of sheep are another determining factors of their prices. — KUNA
KUWAIT: The Historical, Vintage, and Classic Cars Museum launched a new racing track called ‘Serb’ at its premises in Shuwaikh last Thursday. This event was attended by hundreds of motorsport fans and kicked off from the Jumeirah Hotel in Messilah with a car parade on Gulf Road which included sports and classic cars and motorcycles.
The vehicles participating in the car parade were from different groups including the Muscle Cars, Old Cars Team, Japanese Classic Cars Team, Porsche, Corvette, Camaro, and Charger groups, and the 2000 S team. The Kuwait Riders team also participated.
At the track, the spectators enjoyed a show presented by a group of special sports cars from different brands and agents. This was followed by an exciting show presented by popular Kuwaiti champions in car racing including rally, drag racing, drifting, and karting. Motorcycle riders also presented an attention-grabbing show on the track.
On this occasion, General Manager of the Car Museum Mustafa Makhseed noted that launching the track will improve the general standard of motorsports in Kuwait. “This track was sponsored and launched by Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed who always cares about champions, especially in this field. This encourages us at the museum to work harder and improve motorsports in Kuwait,” he said.
Zakariya Dashti, CEO of the Museum expressed his happiness with the track. “The Serb Track was a dream that has finally come true. We are proud of this achievement, thanks to the generous donation of Sheikh Nasser. This track will be the ideal place for car fans to practice their hobby. This track will raise a new generation of champions and the doors will always be open for everybody,” he pointed out.
The event concluded with a ceremony held to honor 70 Kuwaiti champions from various motorsports. They received trophies and certificates for their special achievements. Historical, Vintage & Classic Cars Museum is located in Shuwaikh Industrial Area, Block 1, Street 49.
By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior has embarked on a media plan to raise public awareness about security and traffic precautions for the week-long Eid Al-Adha holidays. “The plan aims to guide citizens and residents about the security and traffic precautions necessary to secure their safety and enjoyment during the holiday,” Head of the Ministry of Interior’s Moral Guidance and Public Relations Department Col Adel Al-Hashash told reporters yesterday.
With the actual holiday starting with the Day of Arafah on Monday followed by three days of Eid, the Cabinet decided to declare Sunday a holiday as well, thus giving the country a whole week off. Al-Hashash, also Acting Head of the Security Media Department, pointed out that safety instructions will be broadcast and published accross local private and public and electronic media.
“Moreover, they will be posted on social networking websites and sent to people’s mobile phones in the form of SMS messages,” he said, adding that the campaign will last throughout the holiday.
During this period, police will be on high alert across the nation and the emergency hotline, 112, is ready to receive their distress calls, which it will tackle immediately as the ministry has set a comprehensive plan to guarantee the public’s safety to help them enjoy the celebrations responsibly. The plan includes an intensive deployment of police personnel on main roads with patrol vehicles deployed in main destinations, particularly in those attracting large crowds. — KUNA
KUWAIT: Search is on for a domestic worker accused of stealing her employer’s passport as well as KD800 before escaping. The incident took place in Khaitan where a Kuwaiti woman returned to her apartment and found out that her four children were locked inside a room with the key left near the door. She immediately unlocked the door and found her children in a terrorized state. She looked for the housemaid who she had entrusted the children with but couldn’t find them. She then checked the Indian maid’s room and discovered that she had taken her passport and ran away. The woman then checked her own bedroom and found out that her own passport and KD800 in cash were missing. She headed to the area’s police station immediately and filed a case.