Kuwait: Human rights defender Hadeel Buqrais summoned to the Electronic & Cyber Crime Combatting Department
On 18 November 2020, well-known human rights defender Hadeel Buqrais was summoned over the phone by the Electronic and Cyber Crime Combatting Department (ECCCD) in Kuwait, to investigate her peaceful activities on the Internet.
Reliable local reports stated that the summons is linked to her peaceful online activities that are related to some of her tweets posted on her Twitter account, which she uses to defend the civil and human rights of citizens, especially the Bedoon community in Kuwait.
Buqrais will appear before the ECCCD at a later time, but has been informed that her lawyer will not be allowed to accompany her during the investigation. This violates Article 75 of the Code of Criminal Procedures and Trials (1960/17) which states: "For the accused and defendant has the right to attend all preliminary investigation procedures, and each of them has the right to accompany his lawyer."
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) declares its full solidarity with human rights defender Hadeel Buqrais, who has been frequently targeted in the past due to her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities, and calls on the authorities in Kuwait to stop harassing her and to instead offer her full protection.
GCHR respectfully reminds the government of Kuwait that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised 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 like to draw your attention to 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.”