January 30, 2019 / 4:47 PM / 24 days ago

Kuwait parliament expels two lawmakers sentenced to jail terms

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Two Kuwaiti lawmakers were expelled from the parliament on Wednesday, several years after they were sentenced to jail terms for forcing their way into the parliament building in 2011.

Protesters burst into parliament in 2011 after lawmakers had been denied the right to question then-Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah about corruption allegations.

Lawmakers Jamaan al-Harbash and Waleed al-Tabtabai were sentenced to five years jail in 2016, reduced in 2017 to 3-1/2 years by the country’s highest court. However, they have not been taken into custody. Reuters was not able to contact them.

Harbash is a member of the Constitutional Movement party, seen as close to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Tabtabai is an independent Salafist lawmaker.

The Parliament president Marzouq al-Ghanem said 40 lawmakers had voted for the decision to expel the two from the body, while 18 were against it.

“Nobody wants to see our colleagues’ membership end this way but those are final verdicts,” Ghanem told reporters.

The parliament called on the government to take necessary measures to elect their replacements.

Although most political power in Kuwait is in the hands of the emir, its parliament is one of the most influential elected bodies among the monarchies of the Gulf region. It has the power to question and remove members of the cabinet.

Reporting By Ahmed Hagagy, writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi

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