Kuwait to install cameras amid security concerns
KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait will be installing surveillance cameras in public places such as malls, supermarkets and hotels to boost security because of concerns about crime and terrorism, following parliament's unanimous adoption of a bill Tuesday.
Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled al-Sabah said the legislation was needed to boost security and prevent crimes, assuring lawmakers that individual privacy will not be compromised.
During debate of the bill, MP Abdullah al-Turaiji said "we do not rule out the possibility that those who carried out the suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia may have people in Kuwait," to two suicide attacks last month in the neighbouring country.
The law establishes a jail term of up to two years and a fine of $33,000 (29,464 euros) for persons who misuse the cameras.
Parliament also adopted on a final vote legislation stipulating 10-year jail terms and fines of up to $165,000 for online crimes, especially those related to terrorism, despite warnings that this could undermine freedom.
The vote was 33 in favour, including cabinet ministers, with 12 opposed and one abstention.
It stipulates a 10-year sentence for creating a website for a "terrorist" group or publishing news about the group on the Internet that aims to raise funds.
The same penalty applies to money laundering and publishing how to manufacture explosives or other tools that can be used in attacks.
MPs who opposed the law said it suppresses freedoms of expression and speech and stipulates highly exaggerated penalties for online users.
Justice Minister Yacoub al-Sane defended the law as being in line with international standards.
The lowest penalty would be a six-month sentence and a $6,600 fine for illegally "infiltrating a computer or an electronic network".
Kuwaiti courts have handed down prison sentences to several opposition activists, former lawmakers and Twitter users for remarks deemed insulting to the emir or on other charges.