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Kuwait: Detained human rights defender Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli ends hunger strike

2017-03-13

Detained human rights defender Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli suspended his hunger strike in Kuwait on 03 March 2017 after the Central Prison administration agreed to communicate with the authorities about his demands, including his request to be released. The prison administration claimed that he has to spend an additional period of 35 days in prison for case number 69 from the year 2011, however, he already spent more than that amount of time in prison during a series of detentions.

Al-Fadhli started his hunger strike on 22 February 2017 demanding his release from prison after he finished serving the three-month sentence against him, according to a previous report by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR). See: http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1503

The case is related to his participation in a peaceful demonstration calling for the rights of Bedoon citizens in Kuwait in 2012. Al-Fadhli had already been acquitted in this case and has spent the last few years being repeatedly arrested and detained. Also, it is uncertain whether the deportation order imposed as part of his sentence will be halted or not.

On 18 October 2016, the Appeal Court in Kuwait confirmed a three-month sentence with labour against Al-Fadhli. The charges in this case are “incitement to demonstrate, resisting the security men, destroying security personnel vehicles, and destabilising the security and stability of the country.”

GCHR calls on the government of Kuwait to stop targeting Al-Fadhli with criminal charges related to his human rights work.  

GCHR urges the authorities in Kuwait to:

  1. Release Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli immediately and without any conditions as he is being targeted solely due to his human rights activism;
  2. Immediately rescind the deportation order against Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli; and
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Kuwait are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment. 

GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention Article 6 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters“, and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present declaration.