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Kuwait opposition leader sentenced to 5 years

Monday - 4/15/2013, 12:17pm  ET

FILE -- In this Wednesday, July 1, 2009 file photo, Kuwaiti Islamist lawmaker Mussallam al-Barrak speaks at the National Assembly in Kuwait. Kuwait opposition groups say one of their leaders, former parliament member Mussallam al-Barrack, has been sentenced to five years in prison on charges of insulting the emir during a political rally last year. The sentence against Al-Barrack could rekindle street protests that flared during disputes over parliamentary elections in December. Al-Barrack led a boycott movement to protest changes in voting rules ordered by the emir. (AP Photo / Gustavo Ferrari, File)

KUWAIT CITY (AP) -- A leader of Kuwait's opposition has been sentenced to five years in prison on charges of insulting the emir during a political rally last year, opposition groups said on Monday.

The sentence against former parliament member Mussallam al-Barrack could rekindle street protests that flared during disputes over parliamentary elections in December. Al-Barrack led a boycott movement to protest changes in voting rules ordered by the emir.

Violent clashes erupted after al-Barrack was detained and authorities temporarily imposed rules that limited public gatherings.

In a speech in October, al-Barrack accused the emir of running the country as an "autocracy." Opposition groups and Kuwait media reported the Monday sentencing.

Last week, Kuwait officials began considering a media law that reports say could bring fines of about $1 million for insulting the ruling family.


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