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Arabic press review: Two prisoners win in Kuwait’s election

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities are set to release dozens of political prisoners and cholera cases surge across Syria
Kuwaiti men check voting lists at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Kuwait City on 29 September 2022 (AFP)
Kuwaiti men check voting lists at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Kuwait City on 29 September 2022 (AFP)

Kuwaiti MPs from behind bars 

In a historical first, two Kuwaiti candidates held in prison won seats in the country’s national assembly in last week’s vote, the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat has reported. 

Hamid Mehri al-Badhali and Marzouq al-Khalifa are both being held on charges of holding illegal by-elections.

According to Kuwaiti law, they were eligible to stand for election because their case did not relate to issues of honesty or honour. 

The pair will be allowed to take oath in the first session of the new parliament before returning to serve their sentence, according to a legal expert. 

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Unless they are issued amnesty, both MPs will serve their full sentences before they are able to join parliament and take up their duties.

Egypt to release 50 political prisoners

Around 50 political prisoners in Egypt are set to be released as part of a presidential pardon initiative, the London-based Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed reported on Sunday. 

Lawmaker Tarek El Khoury, a member of the presidential pardon committee, said arrangements have been made to release a group of prisoners held in pre-trial detention who have not been involved in acts of violence or been accused of belonging to terrorist groups. 

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Over the past few months, Egyptian authorities have released many well-known political prisoners detained in cases relating to them expressing their views. 

Since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi reactivated the work of the presidential pardon committee in April, human rights groups have called for clear and public criteria for pardons. 

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information estimates that there are 120,000 prisoners in Egypt as of March 2021.

These include about 65,000 political prisoners and 54,000 held on criminal charges.

Cholera cases surge across Syria

The total number of people infected with cholera in Syria has exceeded 9,000 cases and health officials fear they will lose control over the spread of the disease in some cities, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper has reported. 

Syria’s ministry of health said 524 cases have been confirmed, the majority of which were in Aleppo with 346 recorded infections.

The total number of deaths in government-controlled areas reached 36 cases, 31 of which were in Aleppo governorate, while the rest were spread across other cities.

Meanwhile, 6,553 suspected cases were reported in northeastern Syria according to the Early Warning Alert and Response Network. 

Another 297 cases are suspected in the northwest of the country.

The NGO Response Coordination Group, which operates in the opposition-populated northwest, has raised the alarm saying that an outbreak in the region would be difficult to control.

The organisation said the number of cases in some makeshift camps for displaced people is likely higher than what has been reported.

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