Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Kuwait

    January 11, 2016

    A new cybercrimes law, which is due to take effect on 12 January 2016, will add a further layer to the web of laws that already restrict the right of people in Kuwait to freedom of expression and must be urgently reviewed, said Amnesty International today.

    The law includes criminalization of a range of online expression – in particular, criticism of the government, religious figureheads or foreign leaders. Dozens of people in Kuwait have already been arrested and prosecuted under other legislation for comments of this kind made on social media sites such as Twitter.

    “This repressive law is the latest, flawed strand in a tangled web of legislation that is designed to stifle free speech,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program.

    “Like anyone else in the world, Kuwaitis have a right to peacefully express their opinion, including by criticizing their own or other governments online without fear of imprisonment.”

    December 16, 2015

    Released 11:30am local time Kuwait / 08:30am GMT Wednesday 16 December 2015

    The Kuwaiti authorities have arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned scores of peaceful activists, including human rights defenders and political opponents, in their efforts to silence critics and punish dissent, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    The ‘iron fist policy’: Criminalization of peaceful dissent in Kuwait, details the clampdown on freedom of expression in Kuwait since 2011, in the context of an overall deterioration of the human rights situation in the country, and highlights how the authorities are increasingly resorting to a multitude of restrictive laws to muzzle critical voices.

    “In the five years since a wave of popular protests swept across the Arab world we have witnessed a steady, relentless eroding of human rights in Kuwait as the authorities step up the clampdown on dissent. Scores of peaceful critics have been arrested and imprisoned simply for speaking out against a spectre of widespread repression,” said James Lynch, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    September 15, 2015

    Seven death sentences handed down by a Kuwait City court today are a misguided response to the bombing of Imam Sadiq Mosque in June this year and must be overturned, Amnesty International said.

    The armed group calling itself the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Shi’a mosque, in which a Saudi Arabian man blew himself up during Friday prayers, killing 26 others and wounding 227. It was the worst act of violence in Kuwait since the 1991 Iraqi invasion.

    The Kuwaiti authorities announced that they arrested 29 people in early August in connection with the bombing.

    “These death sentences are a misguided response to what was an utterly heinous and callous criminal act,” said James Lynch, Acting Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    “The death penalty is not the way to tackle terror, and these sentences do nothing to build a culture of rule of law and tolerance which Kuwait needs now more than ever. They must be overturned.”

    Death sentences are subject to appeal in Kuwait.

    November 10, 2014

    The announcement by Kuwait that tens of thousands of stateless people in the country known as the Bidun might be able to obtain “economic citizenship” of the Union of the Comoros, an impoverished archipelago off eastern Africa, is a shameless betrayal of Kuwait's international human rights obligations, said Amnesty International.

    “It is shocking that authorities in Kuwait would try to resolve the long-standing issue of the Biduns’ statelessness and discrimination by mass purchasing another country's 'economic citizenship',” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa programme.

    “Many Bidun currently living in Kuwait were born and raised in Kuwait. They are entitled to a fair, transparent and prompt adjudication of their applications for Kuwaiti citizenship.”

    According to the proposal, the Bidun would be allowed to remain in Kuwait as foreign nationals.

    October 11, 2013

    A proposal to introduce compulsory “medical tests” to bar any migrant workers deemed to be “homosexual” or transgender from entering Kuwait and other Gulf countries is outrageous and should be rejected out of hand, said Amnesty International.

    “This proposal will only further stigmatize people who already suffer extremely high levels of discrimination and abuse on the grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of continuing to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals, authorities in Kuwait should work to ensure that people are not harassed and abused because of who they are and repeal laws that criminalize sexual acts between consenting adults.”  

    June 18, 2013

    The execution earlier today of two Egyptian nationals by the Kuwaiti authorities is a huge setback for human rights in the country, said Amnesty International.

    Hajjaj Al-Saadi, an Egyptian who became known as the “Hawally Monster” after he was convicted of raping 17 children, was hanged at a prison in Kuwait today, along with Ahmad Abdulsalam, a second Egyptian national, who had been found guilty of murder.

    The Kuwaiti authorities have ignored calls from Amnesty International and other human rights groups for executions to be halted in the country.

    “Amnesty International reiterates its call for the Kuwaiti authorities to end all executions immediately and reinstate a moratorium on the death penalty,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program.

    “We oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, or the individual’s guilt or innocence because it is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”

    June 14, 2013

    The Kuwaiti authorities must urgently intervene to stop the execution of Hajjaj Al-Saadi, an Egyptian national sentenced to death, feared to be at risk of imminent execution, Amnesty International said.

    “All executions in Kuwait must stop immediately,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “However deplorable the crime, the death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and must be abolished in Kuwait once and for all.”

    Al-Saadi, who is known as the “Hawally Monster”, was arrested in 2007 and convicted of raping 17 children.

    The organization has written to His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, to express its dismay at the resumption of the use of the death penalty in Kuwait this year.

    Three men convicted of murder were hanged in Kuwait on 1 April in the first executions carried out in the country since May 2007.

    “Kuwait must commute all death sentences and revise the law to prohibit capital punishment,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said.

    April 01, 2013

    The executionof three men in Kuwait this morning marks a real set back in a region where many countries show a shocking disregard for the right to life.

    “These are the first executions carried out in Kuwait since 2007 and mark a deplorable setback for human rights in the country,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's Deputy Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “In a region where executions are sadly all too commonplace, Kuwait marked a beacon of hope by declining to execute people for almost six years. That hope has been extinguished today. We deplore this resumption of executions, regardless of the crime.”

    “Kuwait should halt any further executions and should commute all death sentences and revise the law to exclude this most final of penalties.”

    The three menexecuted were convicted of murder and included one Pakistani and one Saudi national, as well as one Bidun (‘without’ in Arabic), one of the stateless minority in Kuwait. A news report had suggested that the executions would be shown live on TV but that does not appear to have happened.

    March 21, 2013

    The Kuwaiti parliament's decision to grant citizenship to up to 4,000 "foreigners" is a step in the right direction but much more must be done to protect the rights of more than 100,000 Bidun in Kuwait, said Amnesty International. 

    Forty-three MPs voted in favour of a bill on Wednesday with only two abstentions. In order to take effect, the law must now be signed by the Amir of Kuwait. 

    "While this bill is a welcome step, the Kuwaiti government must intensify its efforts to find a lasting solution for all the Bidun in the country," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. 

    "The Bidun's human rights must be upheld without discrimination, in particular their rights to health, education and work.

    "The absence of policies to resolve the plight of the Bidun, rooted in human rights standards, is a stain on the country’s international reputation. It deprives thousands of Bidun families of their basic political, economic and social rights and bars them from contributing fully to Kuwaiti society." 

    Subscribe to Kuwait