Kuwait’s Court of Cassation on Thursday sentenced seven judges to seven years in prison each over bribery charges. The landmark case has seen the first-ever lifting of judicial immunity in Kuwait’s legal history.
The background of the case goes back to 2020 when the Public Prosecution, while investigating Iranian Fouad Salehi for money laundering, unearthed communications linking him to 10 judges.
Salehi, who was arrested in August 2020 by the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry, stands accused of money laundering and bribing several Kuwaiti officials, including eight of the mentioned judges.
Of the judges involved, the court upheld the acquittal of one, while two businessmen entangled in the bribery scandal received hefty sentences of 12 years each and were also ordered to pay fines. Additionally, a lawyer was sentenced to 10 years and a department head received seven years, both with labour and enforcement provisions.
The court abstained from meting out punishment to another lawyer and three court employees, maintaining the innocence of a former court official.
Last October, the Court of Appeal mandated the seven convicted judges to return vehicles and gifts they had allegedly received from Salehi in the money laundering case, also decreeing their dismissal from their judicial roles.