MPs lower mi­nors’ age to 16 in new law

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: The Na­tional As­sem­bly yes­ter­day ap­proved a new law for delin­quent ju­ve­niles in which the age of mi­nors was low­ered from 18 to 16 years in a bid to help au­thor­i­ties curb a sharp in­crease in the crime rate. The law was ap­proved in the first read­ing by 37 MPs in­clud­ing Cab­i­net min­is­ters, op­posed by seven law­mak­ers, while two mem­bers ab­stained. The sec­ond and fi­nal round of vot­ing is sched­uled to take place af­ter two weeks.

The ap­proval came af­ter a large num­ber of MPs urged the gov­ern­ment to crack down on violence and crimes, es­pe­cially drugs-re­lated crimes, which the in­te­rior min­is­ter said was spread­ing among teenagers. But sev­eral law­mak­ers protested at low­er­ing the age to 16, say­ing that it is not log­i­cal to send 16-year-olds to the gal­lows like adults.

In the ex­ist­ing ju­ve­nile law, crim­i­nal penal­ties are ap­plied to peo­ple who are 18 years and above, while spe­cial penal­ties are ap­plied to those un­der 18. In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­ham­mad Al-Khaled AlSabah said that the ma­jor­ity of drug crimes were com­mit­ted by 17-year-old boys. He said that the gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to re­duce the vot­ing age from the cur­rent 21 to 18.

Sev­eral MPs also warned that ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions have started tar­get­ing teenagers and called on au­thor­i­ties to adopt stricter mea­sures. MP Ja­mal Al-Omar warned that fail­ure to re­solve the cri­sis of the 120,000 state­less peo­ple or bedoons is fu­el­ing se­ri­ous crimes and violence and urged a swift so­lu­tion. Omar said that mi­nors form al­most half of the so­ci­ety and they have be­come a tar­get for drug deal­ers, and the gov­ern­ment has re­mained un­able to curb them.

MP Ab­dul­lah Al-Tu­raiji called for sep­a­rat­ing the pros­e­cu­tion of mi­nors from the rest and also for do­ing the same at the cen­tral prison. He said that mi­nors are the fu­ture of any coun­try and the crime rate among them is fright­en­ing. MP Saleh Ashour blamed fam­i­lies for the delin­quency of their chil­dren, be­cause some of them leave their chil­dren to maids to take care of them, while some fam­i­lies even travel abroad and leave their chil­dren be­hind in the care of maids.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, for­mer MP Ab­dulka­reem Al-Kan­dari said he plans to file a com­plaint at the An­ti­Cor­rup­tion Author­ity against MP Mo­ham­mad Tana, af­ter the lat­ter claimed that some peo­ple tried to bribe him. Tana had claimed that some peo­ple vis­ited him at home and of­fered to pay him KD 2 mil­lion if he re­signs from the Na­tional As­sem­bly. He did not name the peo­ple nor pro­vided more de­tails. Kan­dari, who re­signed from the As­sem­bly last year af­ter the As­sem­bly re­fused to al­low him to grill the prime min­is­ter, said that he will ask the author­ity to probe Tana’s al­le­ga­tions and un­cover the iden­tity of those who of­fered to bribe him.

PARIS: Foren­sics of­fi­cers of the French po­lice search for ev­i­dence out­side a build­ing in the north­ern sub­urb of Saint-De­nis yes­ter­day, where French po­lice spe­cial forces raided an apart­ment, in which at least two mil­i­tants were killed and seven ar­rested. — AFP

KUWAIT: Au­thor and colum­nist Thomas Frei­d­man (left) and CEF Di­rec­tor Ous­sama Kanaan are seen at a fo­rum at the Arab Fund head­quar­ters in Shuwaikh yes­ter­day. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

An un­dated pic­ture shows a pic­ture of an ex­plo­sive, ap­par­ently con­tained in a soda can, used to bring down a Rus­sian air­liner. — AP

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