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KUWAIT: SARAH AL-DREES TRIAL OBSERVATION REPORT

2016-12-12

Introduction

1.      This report follows a Trial Observation mission conducted on behalf of a coalition of rights groups from 20 to 24 November 2016 in Kuwait. The author is a practising barrister, called to the Bar of England & Wales, with experience of criminal defence, media law and human rights.
2.      The coalition of rights groups which monitored the trial was composed of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), and FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
3.      The author attended the hearing of the Defendant, Sarah Al-Drees, in the Court of First Instance in Kuwait City on Thursday 24 November 2016. The analysis of the charges and prosecution has been supplemented by field investigation and consultation with human rights defenders in Kuwait.
4.      There is an addendum to the Trial Observation Report which details wider legal issues facing journalists and human rights defenders in the country, which forms part of the context to ongoing prosecutions by the State in 2016.

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