MPs lower minors’ age to 16 in new law
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