How Kuwait's opposition is outsmarting the state


Kuwaiti opposition supporters block a major road in Kuwait City on November 30, 2012, during a demonstration against a decision by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to amend the electoral law. The regime has been harsher on activists lately, and has begun jailing outspoken Twitter users and internet activists.



Hackers posted opposition material on Kuwait's information ministry website late Tuesday, Agence-France Press said Wednesday, amid reports of a fourth failed attempt to arrest a leading activist. 

Hackers posted a speech by opposition leader and former parliamentarian Mussallam al-Barrak -- remarks that led to charges for his arrest -- meaning it was featured on the government site "for some time" after appearing late Tuesday, said AFP

Barrak was handed a five-year prison term on Monday for the October 15 speech, which authorities say insulted Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. Repeated attempts to jail him have failed, however.  

Riot police raided Barrak's Kuwait City home on Wednesday in a fourth attempt to put him behind bars, according to Lebanon's Daily Star. The move came a day after thousands of people gathered at his residence in a massive show of support, said AFP.  

But when the authorities showed up on Wednesday, Barrak had reportedly already left. Even if he had been there, though, he probably would have told police what he told them the previous three times -- that he needs to see a proper warrant, fellow activist Saad al-Ajmi told the Star

Pro-government lawmakers are not pleased with their outspoken former colleague. "If he [Barrak] refuses arrest, we should send him armored vehicles from the army and the national guard," parliamentarian Nabeel al-Fadhl said Wednesday, reported AFP

It was not immediately clear if Barrak was involved in the hacking. A ministry statement published by Kuwait's state-run KUNA news only said that the "website has been penetrated by hackers," adding that authorities "immediately suspended the site as a precautionary measure and will take legal measures against those who did this."