Kuwait: Authorities continue to target human rights defenders supporting Bedoon rights

13.02.19

Authorities continue to target human rights defenders who took part in four sit-ins organised in front of the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs, as well as those who express their views on social media networks about the civil and human rights of the Bedoon community or on the subject of other public affairs in Kuwait.

On 11 February 2019, human rights defender Khalifa Al-Anezi was summoned to an investigation by the Electronic and Cyber Crime Combatting Department (ECCCD). The investigation focused on the use of his Twitter account to call on citizens to gather in front of the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs. Almost six hours later, Al-Anezi left at 4:00 pm after paying bail of 200 dinars (almost USD$660). He is a member of the Bedoon community and an activist who has been involved in recent activities in defence of Bedoon’s rights.

At 10 am on 12 February 2019, human rights defender Karima Karam was interrogated at the ECCCD after being summoned the day before. The interrogation, which lasted two hours, focused on her views which she published on her twitter account about domestic workers. Karam participated in various sit-ins that demanded the civil and human rights of the Bedoon.

Also, at 10 am on the same day, human rights defender Anwar Al-Roqi was interrogated at the ECCCD, until 2 pm about his views expressed on Twitter in relation to the basic rights of the Bedoon community. Al-Roqi is a member of the Bedoon community and a student activist at the Open University. He was released on bail of 200 dinars.

Previously, on 10 February 2019, human rights defenders Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli and Hamed Jameel were summoned by the ECCCD. Al-Fadhly was also interrogated for using his Twitter account to call on citizens to gather in front of the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs. Jameel was interrogated separately about allegedly setting up a fake Twitter account, which was used to attack two members of the Group of 80 who support Saleh Al-Fadala, head of the Central Apparatus for Illegal Residents’ Affairs. See https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2061

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is concerned over reports that the ECCCD, which is affiliated with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), could summon more human rights defenders who are involved in the Bedoon struggle. They are being interrogated solely related to their exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression on the Internet. GCHR calls upon the government of Kuwait to cease immediately harassing all hman rights defenders and to expedite the resolution of the problems of the Bedoon community and immediately grant them their human and civil rights as full citizens of Kuwait without discrimination.