The Ap­peals Court over­turns ex-MP’s ci­ti­zen­ship ver­dict

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: The Ap­peals Court yes­ter­day over­turned a Lower Court ver­dict in which it or­dered the gov­ern­ment to re­turn ci­ti­zen­ship to a for­mer Is­lamist MP and ruled that it was not com­pe­tent un­der the law to han­dle sov­er­eign is­sues like ci­ti­zen­ship. Ear­lier this year, the Lower Court ruled that the gov­ern­ment’s re­vok­ing of for­mer MP Ab­dul­lah Al-Barghash ci­ti­zen­ship along with 56 mem­bers of his fam­ily, was il­le­gal and or­dered the gov­ern­ment to re­in­state all cit­i­zen­ships.

The gov­ern­ment took the ac­tion last year as part of a crack­down on the op­po­si­tion but based its de­ci­sion on an ar­ti­cle in the na­tion­al­ity law which speaks about cheat­ing in ob­tain­ing the na­tion­al­ity. The gov­ern­ment chal­lenged the Lower Court rul­ing in the Ap­peals Court and in­sisted that courts have no power on the so-called sov­er­eign is­sues like na­tion­al­ity un­der the Kuwaiti law. The Ap­peals Court ac­cepted the gov­ern­ment ar­gu­ment and said that the law clearly stip­u­lates that the court have no ju­ris­dic­tion over na­tion­al­ity law and ac­cord­ingly can­celled the Lower Court de­ci­sion.

Barghash and his fam­ily mem­bers still have a last chance to go the Supreme Court whose rul­ings are fi­nal. Barghash was in the Palace of Jus­tice wait­ing for the rul­ing and said he ac­cepts the ver­dicts of the ju­di­ciary but hinted at a chal­lenge. In its rul­ing, the Ap­peals Court said that the only as­pect in the na­tion­al­ity law that Kuwaiti courts can han­dle is when au­thor­i­ties refuse to grant chil­dren of Kuwaiti fa­thers their cit­i­zen­ships and not other as­pects. It said that Barghash and his broth­ers and sis­ter ob­tained their na­tion­al­ity in the early 1960s in a dif­fer­ent way.

It said that their fa­ther had lived in the coun­try since be­fore 1920 but at the time of im­ple­ment­ing the na­tion­al­ity law in 1959, he was very ill and died be­fore reg­is­ter­ing him­self and his chil­dren. Later, his chil­dren ob­tained the ci­ti­zen­ship af­ter wit­nesses tes­ti­fied to au­thor­i­ties that they were liv­ing in the coun­try be­fore the Na­tion­al­ity Law and their fa­ther died be­fore reg­is­ter­ing, the court said. Ac­cord­ingly, their fa­ther was not Kuwaiti and the court can­not han­dle their case, it said. The court had re­voked the ci­ti­zen­ship of sev­eral op­po­si­tion mem­bers and even de­ported Saad Al-Ajmi, an ac­tivist with the op­po­si­tion Pop­u­lar Ac­tion Move­ment, af­ter with­draw­ing his na­tion­al­ity.

In another de­vel­op­ment, Oil Min­is­ter Ali Al-Omair ap­pears to be headed out of the min­istry af­ter two years in the post fol­low­ing non-stop con­tro­ver­sies with top oil ex­ec­u­tives. The most likely sce­nario, ex­pected to be an­nounced to­day or early next week, is to move Omair to the Min­istry of Awqaf and Is­lamic Af­fairs while the State Min­istry for National Assem­bly Af­fairs will re­main with him. The so­lu­tion in­volves dis­solv­ing the board of di­rec­tors of Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) and ap­point­ing new ex­ec­u­tives. The next oil min­is­ter is likely to be State Min­is­ter for Cabi­net Af­fairs Sheikh Mo­ham­mad Al-Ab­dul­lah Al-Sabah or Anas Al-Saleh.

MP Ah­mad Al-Qhud­haibi, who was at log­ger­heads with Omair and was pre­par­ing to grill him, wel­comed the news about the min­is­ter’s planned exit and said this proves that his de­ci­sions in the oil sec­tor were not cor­rect. The law­maker said that the plan proves that oil min­is­ters have no pow­ers to move top oil ex­ec­u­tives out of their po­si­tions. He said the plan shows that the supremacy of law in Kuwait has emerged the win­ner.

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