Kuwait: Human rights lawyer Hani Hussain imprisoned

22.02.20

According to reliable reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the authorities in Kuwait have arrested human rights lawyer Hani Hussain and imprisoned him.

On 19 February 2020, the lawyer’s son, Hussain Hani, posted on his Twitter account the following: “Almost 12 hours has passed since my father disappeared.” The family reported that the last contact with him was at one o'clock in the afternoon, as he then mysteriously disappeared. This was followed by a post by lawyer Ahmed Abdulhamid Hussain on his Twitter account on the evening of the same day announcing the transfer of Hani Hussain to the Public Prosecution.

The Public Prosecution ordered the imprisonment of Hussain for 21 days, pending investigation, and he was placed in the Central Prison. Local sources said that two cases are being investigated, the first linked to broadcasting news about the area separating Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the second allegedly violating the law of national unity.

Hani Hussain is a well-known human rights defender in Kuwait who has made great efforts to defend the activists of the Bedoon community in Kuwait who were arrested in 2019. Most of them were recently released. He uses his Twitter account to express his views peacefully and to defend the civil and human rights of all citizens, including the Bedoon community. There is a widespread belief that his arrest is linked to the views published on his account, which includes his criticism of the way in which proposals for a comprehensive amnesty law were discussed by the National Assembly on 18 February 2020. All the proposals were rejected.

GCHR expresses its condemnation of the way in which human rights lawyer Hani Hussain was arrested, similar to kidnapping by the security forces, as he was not allowed for many hours to contact his family and his lawyer. There is grave concern about his detention and charges that have been motivated solely due to his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

GCHR calls on the authorities in Kuwait to release Hani Hussain immediately and unconditionally and to drop all charges against him. Likewise, the authorities must ensure in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Kuwait can carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals or restrictions, including judicial harassment.