Court or­ders pa­per to com­pen­sate de­fen­dant

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Me­shal Al-Enezi

KUWAIT: A court yes­ter­day sen­tenced a lo­cal news­pa­per to pay the sec­ond de­fen­dant in the Al-Sadeq Mosque bomb­ing case, Jar­rah Nimer, com­pen­sa­tion of KD 5,000 for slan­der, af­ter he was ac­quit­ted by the crim­i­nal court and the courts of ap­peal and cas­sa­tion. The Min­istry of In­te­rior (MoI) had pub­lished Nimer’s photo on his ar­rest, say­ing that he owned the ve­hi­cle that dropped the prime sus­pect at the mosque, which brought him a great deal of back­lash on so­cial me­dia net­works, al­though the courts later ac­quit­ted him.

Fish­er­men de­cry ‘un­fair treat­ment’

Chair­man of Kuwait Fish­er­men Union Tha­her Al-Sowayyan stressed that fish­er­men have been un­fairly treated by un­stud­ied de­ci­sions con­cern­ing their pro­fes­sion with­out even con­sult­ing them. Sowayyan added that Kuwaiti fish­er­men suf­fered con­sid­er­able losses this sea­son be­cause of a lack of ex­pa­tri­ate la­bor work­ing on their fish­ing boats, af­ter the au­thor­i­ties de­cided to stamp their pass­ports af­ter sail­ing out to in­ter­na­tional wa­ters for shrimp­ing and on their re­turn to Kuwait.

“This de­ci­sion made many of them quit and many ex­pat fish­er­men were not al­lowed to reen­ter Kuwait,” he un­der­lined, adding that MoI also man­dated all Kuwaiti fish­ing boats to use the Um AlMa­ra­dem exit, which dou­bled the dis­tance, cost and du­ra­tion of the trip from five to 10 days. “Half the Kuwaiti fish­ing fleet might stop op­er­at­ing and some have al­ready stopped, while own­ers are still pay­ing lo­cal banks, com­pa­nies, the in­dus­trial bank and bro­kers,” he re­minded, not­ing that af­ter be­ing fed up with the new de­ci­sions, over 100 ex­pa­tri­ate fish­er­men who had their pass­ports with them fled the coun­try, leav­ing boats be­hind with­out even no­ti­fy­ing their spon­sors. Sowayyan added that re­cruit­ing new work­ers is also get­ting harder be­cause the run­away fish­er­men still hold valid res­i­den­cies in their pass­ports and spon­sors can­not get new ones un­til pre­vi­ous spon­sor­ships are can­celled. “Th­ese idle boats will lead to a lack of lo­cal catches, and thus fish prices will sky­rocket,” he ex­plained, urg­ing MoI to al­lo­cate another closer exit and use spe­cial pass­port­like doc­u­ments for sail­ing in and out in­stead of leav­ing the pass­ports with fish­er­men.

He also urged the Pub­lic Author­ity for Agri­cul­tural Af­fairs and Fish Re­sources (PAAAFR) to pro­tect the pro­fes­sion and MPs to give the is­sue due care. Sowayyan said that the to­tal shrimp catch in Nov 2016 was 353,736 tons com­pared to 371,427 tons in the same pe­riod last year. “This means that lo­cal mar­kets were de­prived of 118,000 tons of shrimp,” he un­der­lined, point­ing out that the union will hold a sem­i­nar next month to dis­cuss the prob­lem and pos­si­ble so­lu­tions.

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