Kuwait court clears top sports executive of charges of insulting judiciary

Friday 22/01/2016
He was sentenced to six months in jail last month

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait's appeals court Monday cleared top sports executive and prominent royal family member Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah of charges of insulting the judiciary.

The court acquitted Sheikh Ahmad, a member of the FIFA executive committee and the International Olympic Committee, of all charges pressed against him by the public prosecution.

Sheikh Ahmad, who is also president of the Olympic Council of Asia, was sentenced to six months in jail last month by a lower court for casting doubt on the integrity of the judiciary.

He was also convicted of insulting the public prosecutor and inciting against public order in an interview with a local television.

Sheikh Ahmad, who is a nephew of Kuwaiti ruler Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, denied the charges and considered the sentence a personal attack against him.

The Supreme Court will have a final say in the matter.

The case erupted in the weeks after FIFA and the IOC suspended in October Kuwait from all sports activities over alleged government interference in the oil-rich Gulf state's sport.

The FIFA suspension means Kuwait cannot take part in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup and the IOC suspension means that Kuwaiti athletes could be barred from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

Kuwait's government has separately filed a lawsuit against Sheikh Ahmad, his brother Sheikh Talal and 13 other officials, over Kuwait's isolation from international sport.

The government is demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Sheikh Ahmad, a former oil minister, resigned from the cabinet in 2011 following a political dispute.