IT is quite sad and painful to listen to the statement of a young man – Abdul Wahab Al-Essa – who was referred to the Public Prosecution on charges of money laundering. After eight months of investigations, as well as suffering he endured and the disruption of his company, he was cleared of all charges, along with a group of Kuwaiti daughters. They have been cleared after they went through a defamation campaign and violation of their privacy.
What Al-Essa narrated was painful not only for him, but for all of us Kuwaitis. This is due to the fact that there is a glimmer of hope in the youth initiatives to revitalize the blood of the national economy, but it seems the Financial Investigation Unit of the Ministry of Interior has a different vision.
People often undergo investigations based on mere suspicions or even on information published on social media platforms without even a single piece of evidence. It seems as though Kuwait is living in the Middle Ages, a period when the people of Europe used to fall into trouble with the law over baseless suspicions and ended up being burnt alive and hanged on the gallows. It is as though we are not in a country where the constitution – something that we are proud of – defines the rights and duties of an individual, and that all legal trials should be initiated according to the law.
In all countries of the world, no person is prosecuted without proof and irrefutable evidence. In fact, in some countries, the accuser is required to present proven facts against those he accuses; otherwise he gets charged with the crime of false accusation.
After eight months of disruption of this young man’s business, freezing of and his company’s accounts, and the great losses he sustained, it is unreasonable that all that the investigation authority can say to him in the end is, “Forgive us” without any kind of material or moral compensation.
A few months ago, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz had issued a royal order obligating all Saudi courts and public prosecution not to accept any case without documents and evidence, and prohibiting the issuance of rulings based on speculations or the opinion of the judge.
This Saudi move not only constitutes a qualitative leap in litigation, but also eliminates the ambiguity of some judicial rulings. Unfortunately in Kuwait, the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Interior works in violation of the law and customs.
We know that we are in a state of institutions, law and justice that does not accommodate or rather tolerate any violation. The accountability and litigation that is taking place today on some personalities in the country reassures the loftiness and fairness of the judiciary in which no one is wronged.
There is no doubt that, before reaching the judiciary, there are many steps that the Ministry of Interior should have taken before mishandling such a hardworking young man and other celebrities.
In fact, the ministry should review all cases that the Public Prosecution has preserved so that its officials realize the error, and abandon the principle of taking people based on suspicion, as this aggrieved the young men and women of this country. We all know that injustice is darkness.
Finally, we all have to demand the Ministry of Interior to compensate this young man and the Kuwaiti celebrities who have been subjected to this or similar bitter experience. The financial compensation must be proportional to the losses sustained by Al-Essa; and the same applies to the female celebrities.
Also, the Ministry of Interior and security agencies should stop processing reports that become the reason to “crush” citizens who are disliked by some ministry officials.
A final word to say to the state – “It is better for a thousand criminals to flee than to wrongfully accuse an innocent person.”
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times