Kuwait hangs royal, 6 others in mass execution

Kuwait hangs royal, 6 others in mass execution
This April 1, 2013 file photo shows three men being executed by hanging in Kuwait City. Kuwaiti authorities on Wednesday executed two locals, including a member of the royal family, and five foreigners. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2017

Kuwait hangs royal, 6 others in mass execution

Kuwait hangs royal, 6 others in mass execution

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait on Wednesday hanged seven people including a member of the ruling family and a woman who burned dozens of people to death at a wedding party, the authorities said.
Kuwait made the announcement on Wednesday in a statement on its state-run KUNA news agency.
They included two Kuwaitis, two Egyptians and one each from Bangladesh, the Philippines and Ethiopia, the statement by the public prosecution office said.
Sheikh Faisal Abdullah Al-Sabah, the first royal to be executed in the emirate, was convicted of shooting and killing his nephew — another member of the ruling family, in 2010 over a dispute — and illegal possession of a firearm.
Nusra Al-Enezi, the other Kuwaiti, set fire to a tent in 2009 during a wedding party in an apparent act of revenge against her husband for taking a second wife.
Many of the 57 people killed were women and children.
Enezi, who was 23 years old at the time, threw petrol on the tent, where people were celebrating inside, and burned it down in one of the most devastating crimes in the history of Kuwait.
Philippine officials earlier said a Filipino domestic helper convicted of killing her employer’s daughter has been executed in Kuwait despite last-ditch efforts to obtain clemency.
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose identified the Filipino hanged as Jakatia Pawa. Jose confirmed Pawa was hanged on Wednesday.
Pawa’s brother, Air Force Lt. Col. Gary Pawa, said his sister called early morning on Wednesday, crying as she informed him of her scheduled execution. She asked him to take care of her two children.
Philippines presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the presidential palace was saddened by the execution of Pawa.
The Ethiopian woman, a domestic helper, was also convicted of murdering a member of her employers’ families.
Abella said the Philippine government had done everything it could to save Pawa, including legal assistance to ensure that her rights were respected and all legal procedures were followed.
Manila “exerted all efforts to preserve her life, including diplomatic means and appeals for compassion. Execution, however, could no longer be forestalled under Kuwaiti laws... We pray for her and her bereaved family,” he added.
Around 240,000 Filipinos are working and living in Kuwait, some of them domestic helpers.
The two Egyptians were also convicted of premeditated murder while the Bangladeshi was convicted of abduction and rape.
Kuwait resumed executions in 2013 after a moratorium of six years.
In April 2013, authorities hanged three men convicted of murder.
Two months later, two Egyptians, convicted of murder and abduction, were executed.
One of them, Hajaj Saadi was convicted of abducting and raping 17 children below the age of 10. He denied the charges in court.
Following those executions, human rights organizations strongly condemned the resumption of hangings in Kuwait.
Kuwait has executed 74 men and six women since it introduced the death penalty in the mid-1960. Most of those condemned have been convicted murderers or drug traffickers.
Around 50 prisoners are on death row.
Courts in Kuwait, which has an elected Parliament and an active political scene, have in the past handed down death sentences to members of the Al-Sabah that has ruled the country for two and a half centuries.
Officials with Kuwait’s Information and Interior Ministries did not immediately answer calls for comment.
The three women and four men are the first to be executed in the oil-rich Gulf state since mid-2013.
The last known executions to be carried out in Kuwait were in 2013, when a Pakistani, a Saudi and a “Bidoon” or man without citizenship in the emirate were hung.


Egypt appeals to UN to stop Ethiopia from taking unilateral action on GERD

Egypt appeals to UN to stop Ethiopia from taking unilateral action on GERD
Updated 9 sec ago

Egypt appeals to UN to stop Ethiopia from taking unilateral action on GERD

Egypt appeals to UN to stop Ethiopia from taking unilateral action on GERD
  • Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed Ethiopia’s imminent second filling of the dam on the Blue Nile with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
  • Shoukry highlighted the importance of the UN and its agencies’ roles in contributing to resuming negotiations and reaching a deal on the GERD dam

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has sent letters to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the UN Security Council chief and the president of the UN General Assembly, explaining the latest developments and the stages of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Shoukry also discussed the issue with Guterres in a phone call, during which he stressed the gravity of Ethiopia’s unilateral actions toward the second filling of the dam without reaching a legally binding agreement and how this would impact the stability and the security of the region.

Shoukry highlighted the importance of the UN and its agencies’ roles in contributing to resuming negotiations and reaching a deal, as well as offering support to the African Union.

Ethiopia started building the dam, 1.8 kilometers in length, in 2011. However, Egypt fears the GERD will imperil its supplies of water from the River Nile. Sudan, meanwhile, is concerned about the dam’s safety and water flows through its own dams and water stations.

Both Cairo and Khartoum stress the need to reach a binding and comprehensive deal that guarantees the rights and interests of the three countries.


Egypt sends medical aid to Libya

Following President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s decision to send medical aid to Libya, two Egyptian military transport planes have delivered two tons of medical aid to the stricken country. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Following President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s decision to send medical aid to Libya, two Egyptian military transport planes have delivered two tons of medical aid to the stricken country. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Updated 32 min 28 sec ago

Egypt sends medical aid to Libya

Following President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s decision to send medical aid to Libya, two Egyptian military transport planes have delivered two tons of medical aid to the stricken country. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
  • Libyan authorities praised Egypt for standing by Libya during times of crises

CAIRO: Following President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s decision to send medical aid to Libya, two Egyptian military transport planes have delivered two tons of medical aid to the stricken country.

This came as part of Egypt’s support and show of solidarity with the Libyan people. It showed the depth of the ties between the two nations, said Tamer Al-Rifai, Egyptian armed forces spokesman.

Libyan authorities praised Egypt for standing by Libya during times of crises, emphasizing the importance of such aid for the Libyan health sector, which is facing challenges, especially the coronavirus pandemic.

The Libyan Moral Guidance Department said that it had received the aid, which had been sent following a meeting between the leader of the Libyan armed forces and El-Sisi. During the meeting, it was planned that Egypt would help Libya fight the pandemic.


Palestinian voters’ attitudes impacted by ‘16 years of failure’

Palestinian voters’ attitudes impacted by ‘16 years of failure’
Updated 49 min 3 sec ago

Palestinian voters’ attitudes impacted by ‘16 years of failure’

Palestinian voters’ attitudes impacted by ‘16 years of failure’
  • Palestinians, by virtue of the Israeli occupation, are traditionally affiliated to parties or large segments of them with political tendencies that often decide their choice at the ballot box
  • In election 2021, independent lists are betting on a change in voters’ moods due to what they call ‘years of wandering and political failure’

GAZA CITY: In the last legislative elections, Muhammad Al-Astal voted for Muhammad Dahlan, a Fatah candidate in the city of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip, against his own relative Yunus Al-Astal, a candidate for Hamas.

This time, Muhammad will again vote for Fatah in the elections scheduled for May 22, despite the presence of his relatives standing for other factions.

Now, long since the last elections in early 2006, 36 lists — seven party lists and the rest independents — are standing this time, but voters are exhausted by years of internal division.

Palestinians, by virtue of the Israeli occupation, are traditionally affiliated to parties or large segments of them with political tendencies that often decide their choice at the ballot box. 

However, independent lists are betting on a change in voters’ moods due to what they call “years of wandering and political failure.”

Muhammad is one of those. He inherited an affiliation to Fatah from his father and brothers, and he believes that the party is “the most capable of leading the Palestinian people.” 

The internal differences in Fatah, with the presence of three lists competing in the legislative elections, did not affect his position. He supports the official Fatah list formed by President Mahmoud Abbas.

“We should not be distracted, either in voting for candidates based on kinship, or for other lists. We need Fatah unity to complete the march of struggle and liberation from occupation,” Muhammad told Arab News.

With the factions at the Cairo Dialogue agreeing to adopt full proportional representation in the upcoming elections, instead of a mixed system (lists and individuals), a candidate’s personality is no longer a central factor in attracting voters.

Experts call voters such as Muhammad the “solid bloc,” which is made up of those who belong to political parties and whose votes are settled in favor of their party lists, and are not influenced by their tribe or geographical region. They do not pay attention to the electoral campaign.

Muhammad did not heed, in the last elections, any criticism of Dahlan, who has been leading the democratic reform movement since the decision to dismiss him from Fatah in 2018. This time, he has formed an independent electoral list, but Muhammad will not vote for him.

The Vision Center for Political Development polled experts and academics about voter priorities for a particular list, asking how do social upbringing, and the factors of belonging to social spaces such as family and tribe, or geographical space such as city and village, affect attitudes. 

The poll concluded that “tribalism will not matter in these elections, and the priority will not be for the political program.” The decisive factor will be party affiliation, in addition to a list’s chances to provide on an economic level.

Samer Najm Al-Din, law professor at Hebron University in the West Bank, said: “Political affiliation will be the most prominent player in guiding the voter, and there is no Palestinian who is not intellectually framed.

“Unfortunately, the detailed electoral programs of the candidate blocs will not have a major role in influencing the voter. What may affect the voter’s orientation is the clear or broad headings of the electoral program, such as the adoption of resistance or economic prosperity, without paying attention to details. The electoral program that is based on clear, simplified ideas, appealing to the Palestinian with bright headlines, is the program that attracts the general electorate.”

Sania Al-Husseini, professor of political science and international relations at the Arab American University in Ramallah, said: “There is no doubt that the Palestinian scene is complex, especially at the current stage, and its priorities in voting for a list differ, depending on the economic and social situation, and so on.”

Regarding the conditions of social upbringing, and the factors of belonging to a family or tribe, Al-Husseini believes both will have an impact on the attitudes of voters, but the nature of the existing system limits these effects, because of the proportional voting system.

Political development researcher Thamer Sabaana believes that, based on opinion polls, factionalism will continue to play a key role in the results.

Hussam Al-Dajani, professor of political science at the Ummah University in Gaza, agreed that “belonging to the party is stronger than belonging to a tribe or geographical region,” but added that 

“16 years of failure and political wandering will have a clear impact on the attitudes of the voters.”


UN has inspected Iran's Natanz plant after explosion: Nuclear watchdog

UN has inspected Iran's Natanz plant after explosion: Nuclear watchdog
Updated 34 min 22 sec ago

UN has inspected Iran's Natanz plant after explosion: Nuclear watchdog

UN has inspected Iran's Natanz plant after explosion: Nuclear watchdog

VIENNA: Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have visited the Natanz plant in Iran, where an explosion took place on Sunday, the nuclear watchdog said Wednesday.
"IAEA inspectors are continuing their verification and monitoring activities in Iran, and today have been at the Natanz enrichment site," the UN agency said in a statement sent to AFP.


US urges Lebanese leaders to break political impasse

US urges Lebanese leaders to break political impasse
Updated 14 April 2021

US urges Lebanese leaders to break political impasse

US urges Lebanese leaders to break political impasse
  • U.S. official said America and the international community can do nothing meaningful without a Lebanese partner
  • Current crisis was the culmination of decades of mismanagement, corruption and leaders’ failure to put the country’s interests first, said Hale

BEIRUT: A senior US official on Wednesday berated Lebanese politicians for fighting over the formation of a new government for months while millions endure mounting economic hardship.
David Hale, US undersecretary of state for political affairs, said America and the international community are ready to help, “but we can do nothing meaningful without a Lebanese partner.”
Hale spoke on a two-day visit to Lebanon amid a months-long political deadlock and dangerous rift between the president and prime minister-designate. The split has prevented the formation of a new Cabinet tasked with halting the country’s rapid economic collapse.
The outgoing government resigned last August, following a massive explosion at Beirut’s port that killed 211 people, injured more than 6,000 and damaged entire neighborhoods in the capital.
The blast hastened the country’s economic and financial decline, which began in late 2019 and has emerged as the gravest threat to Lebanon’s stability since the 15-year civil war ended in 1990.
The local currency has been in free fall since late 2019, losing around 90 percent of its value. The government defaulted on its foreign debt last year and nearly half the population has been pushed into poverty and unemployment.
“America and its international partners are gravely concerned with the failure here to advance the critical reform agenda long demanded by the Lebanese people,” Hale told reporters Wednesday after meeting Lebanon’s longtime Parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri.
The current crisis, he said, was the culmination of decades of mismanagement, corruption and the failure of Lebanese leaders to put the interests of the country first.
“It is time now to call on Lebanese leaders to show sufficient flexibility to form a government that is willing and capable of true and fundamental reform,” Hale added, calling it the only path out of this crisis.
“It’s also only a first step. Sustained cooperation will be needed if we’re going to see transparent reforms adopted and implemented.”