Kuwait: Trial of Dr. Safaa Zaman set for 11 January 2022
Update: Kuwait: On 29 March 2022, the Criminal Division of the Court of First Instance (Kulya Court) issued its ruling acquitting Dr. Safaa Zaman of the charges against her.
On 15 December 2022, the Public Prosecution referred Dr. Safaa Zaman to the Criminal Court for the commencement of her trial in the case brought against her by the Civil Service Commission. Dr. Zaman is the President of the Kuwait Association for Information Security (KAIS) and a Professor of the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering at Kuwait University.
On 19 December 2021, the Court of First Instance (Kulya Court) set 11 January 2022 as the date for the start of the first session of her trial before the Criminal Court.
The State Security had summoned Dr. Zaman by phone at 9pm on 19 November 2021and asked her to come for interrogation the next day at 10am. Although she attended and waited for an hour, she was not investigated. She was prevented from driving her own car, and instead, in order to intimidate her, she was taken by a security vehicle to the Public Prosecution’s Office, where she was interrogated after another hour of waiting. She was charged on three counts of allegedly broadcasting false news that undermines the prestige of the state, causing panic in society, and exposing the country to the risk of severing its relationship with a friendly country, Egypt.
The three charges are related to a talk that Dr. Zaman gave on Appeal, a programme presented by lawyer and media figure Rasha Salem, within her field of specialisation and evidence-confirmed information, on the issue of the existence of electronic servers belonging to the Civil Service Commission in Egypt, and the resulting risk of hacking that threatens data security.
For more information, see: https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2885
All segments of society, including citizens, academics, civil society activists and trade union organisations, stood in solidarity with Dr. Zaman, and issued supporting statements, as well as organising a large Twitter campaign denouncing the case against her.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) condemns in the strongest terms the targeting of Dr. Safaa Zaman and her right to freedom of expression, which includes expressing her views within her academic specialisation and her concern for the country, an act protected by the Kuwaiti constitution. GCHR calls on the Kuwaiti judiciary to drop all false charges against her and then cancel her trial. The Kuwaiti government should celebrate loyal academic personalities such as Dr. Zaman, instead of targeting her and obstructing her scientific research that brings benefit to the country.