Kuwait: State Security continues series of arbitrary arrests of Bedoon activists

26.07.19

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received reliable reports about the continued series of arrests by the State Security of activists from the Bedoon community in Kuwait.

On 24 July 2019, at 10 am, Bader Al-Tamimi, a member of the Bedoon community, was arrested from his home and taken to an unknown destination. Nobody, including his family, knows his whereabouts as of this moment. There is a widespread belief among his community that the repeated visits of activists to his home is the likely reason for the arrest.

At 1:30 pm on the same day, activist Khalifa Al-Anzi (pictured at left) was arrested in front of his workplace, where a large number of individuals, who arrived in four civilian cars, handcuffed his hands and took him away. It is expected that he will be presented before the Public Prosecution on 28 July 2019.

On 25 July 2019, journalist Reda Al-Fadhli (picture at right), a member of the Bedoon community, was seen at the Public Prosecutor's Office where he was under investigation. Al-Fadhli disappeared on 23 July 2019, and his family did not know anything about him until he appeared at the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Khalifa Al-Anzi and Reda Al-Fadhli are prominent Bedoon community activists who have taken part in the sit-ins in Freedom Square in Taima area since 2011.

The men are among at least 17 members of the Bedoon community who are known to have been arrested since the series of arrests began on 11 July 2019. They were all arrested without being presented with any judicial warrants issued by the competent authorities.

For more information, see previous GCHR appeals issued in July at:

Local sources confirmed that all arrested activists and other members of the Bedoon community are being held in a prison belonging to the State Security, which rejected their repeated requests through their lawyers to transfer them to the General Prison, since the investigations for most of them have been completed. There are fears that the authorities are keeping them out of the official government prisons until the disappearance of the effects of ill-treatment and torture, because official prisons do not accept any new inmates without a medical examination.

Meanwhile, in terms of digital threats, an unknown group attempted to break into some accounts on Twitter that defend the rights of the Bedoon community, such as the account of the Platform to Defend Kuwait’s Bedoon and the account of one of its founders, activist and academic, Dr. Fahad Al-Mutairi.

Again, GCHR calls on the Kuwaiti government, in particular the State Security, to immediately stop this series of arbitrary arrests and to release all members of the Bedoon community, most of whom have been arbitrarily detained solely for their peaceful and legitimate work in the field of human rights and the defense of the civil and human rights of the Bedoon community, or even for knowing activists in the Bedoon community.

The Kuwaiti authorities should respect the provisions of Article 44 of the Kuwaiti Constitution, which gives individuals the right to demonstrate or assemble peacefully without the need for “prior permission or notice”; respect their international human rights obligations; and stop the confiscation of public freedoms and civil and human rights.