Kuwait: State Security Bureau continues violating civil and human rights of citizens

22.11.21

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is extremely concerned about the recent actions of Kuwait’s State Security Bureau, which has detained two citizens arbitrarily and practiced a policy of intimidation against an academic.

On 19 November 2021, at exactly nine o'clock at night, the State Security Bureau called Dr. Safaa Zaman, President of the Kuwait Association for Information Security (KAIS) and a Professor of the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering at Kuwait University, and asked her to come for investigation the next day at ten o'clock. Although she attended in time and waited for an hour, she was not investigated. She was then prevented from driving her own car, and instead, in order to intimidate her, she was taken by a security car to the Public Prosecution office, who interrogated her after another hour. She was told that she was being charged with allegedly undermining the security of citizens and spreading fear among them by spreading false news, undermining the prestige of the state, and offending relations with a friendly country, Egypt. She was released without being told if she will be officially charged.

During an appearance on Appeal, a programme presented by lawyer and media figure Rasha Salem, Dr. Zaman had talked, within her field of specialisation using evidence-based information, about the issue of the existence of the electronic servers affiliated with the Civil Service Commission in Egypt, and the resulting risk of hacking that threatens data security.

The Appeal programme is shown on Al-Shahed TV channel, where its focus is to appeal the judgments issued by citizens in the street against its guests, who are given the right to defend themselves and respond to those judgments through the programme.

GCHR condemns the targeting of Dr. Safaa Zaman by the State Security Bureau, and its efforts to intimidate her and prevent her from carrying out her professional work and maintain data security, as well as violating her right to freedom of expression and freedom of access to information. GCHR calls on the Public Prosecution in Kuwait to close the case immediately because it contradicts the Kuwaiti Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression, and Law No. (12) of 2020 regarding freedom of access to information, in order to allow citizens access to the truth.

In two other separate cases, the State Security Bureau kidnapped two citizens and arbitrarily detained them without a court order. At 7:30 pm on 21 November 2021, members of the State Security Bureau kidnapped citizen Abdulamir Al-Attar, 66 years old, in front of a place of worship, and took him to an unknown destination.

Similarly, the State Security Bureau kidnapped on the same day, at mid night, an immigrant Afghan citizen, Ghulam Ali, 44 years old, the guard of the same place of worship, and he was taken to an unknown destination as well. No information is available about their whereabouts, nor the reason for their arrest and the nature of the charges brought against them.

GCHR denounces the State Security Bureau’s adoption of this systematic repression that violates the civil and human rights of citizens, and demands that it desist as it leaves a bad impact on the hearts and minds of the people, as well as harming Kuwait’s reputation in the field of human rights. The security forces, including the State Security Bureau, must work to protect the rights of citizens, not violate them.