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05 December 2023

Kuwait's interior minister asked to stay in post

By Reuters

Kuwait's interior minister handed in his resignation on Thursday over allegations that police had tortured a man to death, but a state minister asked him to stay on in the post.

Kuwaiti lawmakers, citing interior ministry sources, have accused police of torturing to death a man detained on suspicion of illegal possession of alcohol. The death was first reported by local media earlier this week.

Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber Khaled al-Sabah had denied the allegations but a parliamentary source said Sabah submitted his resignation on Thursday.

The minister of state for cabinet affairs, Roudhan Al-Roudhan, later told the state news agency KUNA he had asked Sabah to remain in his post and to continue the investigation into the case.

The dead man, Mohammed al-Muteiry, was detained by police on suspicion of possessing 24 bottles of alcohol -- a criminal offence in Kuwait.

Kuna, citing an interior ministry statement, said Muteiry had admitted to the crime but resisted the police by attacking several officers.

Details of a forensics report released by KUNA on Thursday said there was evidence of "criminal activity".

"The doctors' committee specialising in forensics formed to investigate the death of the citizen Mohammed Ghazay al-Maymouny al-Muteiry has demonstrated there was suspected criminal activity behind his death," the report was quoted as saying.

Sabah was already under pressure after a police crackdown on an opposition gathering in December wounded several people.

That incident triggered a move by three opposition members of parliament to question the prime minister. He survived a vote against him that could have potentially either forced him to resign or dissolved the parliament.