Kuwait: Police and judiciary fail to protect women

27.04.21

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is seriously concerned over reports that an intelligence employee stalked and murdered a woman in Kuwait with impunity. GCHR also calls for the authorities to revise the sections of the Kuwaiti Penal Code related to so-called "honour crimes", and provide full protection to women under the law.

In Kuwait, Twitter has been dominated by two hashtags (#Mourning_Women and #Killling_ Crime_Sabah_AlSalem) after 32-year-old Farah Hamza Akbar, the mother of two young daughters, was murdered by a man who had been stalking her for many months. She was not provided any protection whatsoever by the security authorities and the judicial system.  

The murderer, Fahd Subhi, spotted the victim for the first time in a public park, and continued to monitor her without her knowledge and was able to access her personal data and her home address using her vehicle number. Then he kept watching and disturbing her.

In January 2021, the victim registered a kidnapping case against him which was investigated. The case was referred to the court, which has not yet issued a ruling in the case.

In February 2021, the victim filed another complaint against her stalker, accusing him of attempted murder after he blocked her path and threatened her, and the case was investigated, following which he was detained for 10 days and later released on bail.

Despite all this, the murderer insisted on pursuing Akbar everywhere she went to force her to waive the kidnapping case, and was able to put a tracking device in her car, so that he could always know her whereabouts.

After that, he confronted her twice, once while Akbar was with her aunt, when he seized her mobile phone, broke it and threatened her with death if she did not drop the kidnapping case. This was followed by his interception of her at a bank, where he severely beat her in order to try to pressure her to drop the two cases she had brought against him, but she refused.

Her sister, Dana Hamza Akbar, who is a lawyer, spoke in a video about the  apathy that her sister faced from the police, despite her attempt to portray the danger threatening her sister's life and her visits to police stations to no avail. She added, "Several times I informed the prosecutor, Ahmed Al-Ajiri, that the young man would assassinate us." But despite this, he was released on bail.

Reliable local sources confirmed that the 30-year-old killer was working in the intelligence service at the time of his crime, despite the presence of more than 40 criminal cases against him, due to the protection he was receiving from an influential government official.

On 25 April 2021, the Public Prosecution charged Al-Ajiri with premeditated murder and coerced kidnapping and demanded that the maximum penalty be applied, and confirmed that the case was being sent to court to expedite a ruling.

On 22 April 2021, many citizens - most of them women - gathered in Al-Irada Square demanding the provision of all forms of protection for women in Kuwait, and the abolition of Article 153 of the Kuwaiti Penal Code related to so-called "honour crimes", in which the legislation permits the killing of a woman by her husband. The maximum sentence is three years in prison and a fine of up to 225 dinars (USD$748), or one of those two punishments.

GCHR shares the grief of the family of the victim, Farah Hamza Akbar, and declares full solidarity with them in their demand for justice for their daughter. The Kuwaiti government should put in place a comprehensive programme that guarantees the protection of Kuwaiti women in a way that ensures that they play their full role in society in order to build a safe and prosperous future for all citizens without exception.