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Kuwait pardons those convicted of offending him

July 31, 2013

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait’s ruler says he is pardoning all those convicted of offending him.

The move is an apparent effort to cool political tensions after last week’s parliamentary elections in the Gulf nation.

The official Kuwait News Agency gave no further details on Wednesday about Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah’s announcement. It came during a speech for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The ruler said the pardon extends to “all” — meaning it would apparently apply to jailed opposition figures and online activists.

Over the past two years, dozens of people have been charged with remarks deemed offensive to the emir, which is a crime in Kuwait.

It’s part of similar crackdowns around the Gulf Arab states that have brought harsh criticism from rights groups.

Update hourly