Kuwait: Kuwait: Human rights defender Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli released
At 8:30pm on 01 August 2017, human rights defender Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli was released from the Central Prison in Kuwait on bail of 500 Kuwait Dinars (approx. USD$1650) after serving a one-year sentence related to peaceful protests, among other sentences.
Reports confirmed that he signed a declaration that he won’t participate in any further protests in exchange for freezing both the deportation order issued against him and another prison sentence. In a ruling on 16 February 2017, the Court of Cassation handed down a suspended two-year prison sentence with a bail of 500 Kuwait Dinars, and ordered him to sign a judicial declaration that he won't protest any more.
The sentence of the Cassation Court is related to a peaceful protest that took place in 2012 to defend the rights of the Bedoon community in which Al-Fadhli was involved.
Information received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) suggest that as soon as he signed the declaration promising not to take part in future protests, the Public Prosecutor stopped the deportation order.
GCHR believes that the ruling of the Court of Cassation is highly politicised as the judiciary is taking declarations from activists to stop their activism so that they won’t be targeted with further judicial harassment.
GCHR welcomes the release of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli but calls on the government of Kuwait to stop targeting him with criminal charges related to his human rights work.
GCHR urges authorities in Kuwait to:
- Revoke all the charges and sentences against Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli as they are solely related to his human rights activism;
- Permanently rescind the deportation order of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli; and
- 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.”