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April 23, 2017

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Kuwait’s most prominent opposition figure freed from prison

Updated Friday, April 21, 2017 | 6:41 a.m.

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait's most prominent opposition figure has been released after serving a two-year prison sentence for insulting the ruler in a speech critical of the country's sheikh.

Hundreds of supporters welcomed Musallam Al-Barrak, 61, outside of Kuwait's Central Prison, with a procession of cars following him to his house, after his release Friday afternoon.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Barrak's lawyer Thamer Al-Jadaei said his release was being celebrated because many admire his courage to speak out against what they see as corruption and stagnation.

The former lawmaker was convicted after giving a speech in late 2012 in which he called on Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah not to "drag the country into a dark abyss" and said Kuwait risked becoming an autocratic state.