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Judicial CP - January 1999

Arabia On-Line, 7 January 1999

Islamist Kuwaiti MPs Advocate Islamic Punishment

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) -- Walid al-Tabtabai, a former university Islamic sharia law professor, has been launching a concerted campaign along with Islamist MPs to "clean up" Kuwait, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Heading a group of MPs, Tabtabai, a member of a strict Islamist party, has called for the Islamic punishments of flogging, amputation and stoning to be introduced in Kuwait, a religiously conservative country.

Although Kuwait bans alcohol and discos, it is the only Gulf Arab state to have an elected parliament. Nonetheless, women are not allowed to vote.

According to the bill 280, submitted to Kuwait's parliament, adulterers charged after testimony of four male witnesses or a confession will be given 100 lashes, Al-Rai Al-Aam said.

Rapists will also face 100 lashes as well as a minimum 10-year jail term, which will be increased to a death sentence or life prison term if the victim is less then seven years old, mentally retarded, a relative or a maid.

Thieves in this oil-rich emirate who steal more than the equivalent value of 17 grams (around half an ounce) of gold from people other than relatives will have their right hand amputated, after a thorough medical examination.

The proposed bill covers all crimes. Abortion is classified under premeditated murder in the bill, and will be punishable by the death penalty, while sodomy carries 40 lashes and a jail term.

Drinking alcohol similarly carries 40 lashes, but defamation carries 80 lashes. Converts from Islam will have only 30 days to repent and revert to their religion or face being sentenced to death in all but exceptional cases, as Islam does not allow its followers to convert.

Kuwaiti Parliament unanimously rejected in November a proposal by Tabtabai, for a ban on cinema, theater and "entertainment tents" during the month of Ramadan.

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