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Tue 26 Jan 2016 02:23 PM

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Kuwaiti court overturns conviction of ruling family member

Appeals court cancels ruling on Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, a power broker in international sport

Kuwaiti court overturns conviction of ruling family member

An appeals court has overturned a suspended prison sentence against Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family and a power broker in international sport, local media reported on Tuesday.

A court last month convicted Sheikh Ahmad of disrespect to the public prosecutor and attributing a remark to the country's ruler without a special permission from the emir's court. It gave him a six-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 1,000 dinars ($3,300).

The Gulf Arab state's constitution describes Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah as "immune and inviolable" and quoting him without permission is punishable under Kuwaiti law.

The Al-Rai newspaper said the Court of Appeals on Monday "cancelled the ruling by the court of first instance and cleared him (Sheikh Ahmad) of the charges attributed to him". Another daily, Al-Qabas, carried a similar report.

Sheikh Ahmad, who is president of the Olympic Council of Asia and sits on the International Olympic Committee, had been accused of quoting the emir without permission in an interview with a local television station in 2014.

At the time, he filed a legal complaint with evidence of a possible criminal nature against two former officials accusing them of a plot to overthrow the system, according to the state news agency KUNA.

As part of his complaint, Sheikh Ahmad submitted audio and video clips that seemed to suggest former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah and the late parliament speaker Jassem al-Kharafi were suspected of money laundering, stealing public funds and contacting a foreign power, KUNA said.

Kuwait's public prosecutor dropped the inquiry in March, ruling the tape was bogus.

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