Kuwait: GCHR announces its full solidarity with writer, blogger and prominent activist Anwar Al-Rasheed
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) declares its full solidarity with writer, blogger and prominent activist Anwar Al-Rasheed, who is being targeted in Kuwait due to his peaceful activities in defence of the civil and human rights of Kuwaiti citizens.
On 21 July 2022, he received a phone call from the Public Prosecution for Media issuing him with a summons to appear before it on 27 July 2022. However, no details were given on the reasons behind this summons. On 30 June 2022, he announced that he was threatened with physical assault on Twitter if he continued to support the legitimate demands of the Bedoon community in Kuwait. Despite these threats, he stressed his continued support for their just cause.
Al-Rasheed regularly uses his Twitter account to express his personal views on the country’s public affairs, as well as to defend human rights activists, including Internet activists who are targeted by the authorities. He also uses it to demand a general amnesty for bloggers living in exile and sentenced to prison in absentia. Al-Rasheed’s Twitter bio reads, “I love freedom, I hate injustice, and my goal is to establish human rights as a civilized value, and I hate sectarianism and its provocateurs”.
On 17 July 2022, he posted the following tweet, "I will not ask for more than a general amnesty decree for all the young refugee men and women of Kuwait, whose number is increasing day by day as a result of the application of unconstitutional laws."
In an article he published on 22 July 2022, entitled, “I will make your summons a human rights epic,” he began by saying, “The government is still insisting on continuing the sin of gagging and using the authority granted to it to do so.” In the same article, he also discussed the lengthy prison sentences issued against bloggers and Internet activists, “No official will dare respond and confront the nation with this painful truth that I documented by compiling the number of years of imprisonment issued, which amounted to 926 years, 6 months and 10 days. There is no sign of this letting up as Prosecutors are investigating, and the courts are obliged to issue their rulings in accordance with those laws that unconstitutionally restrict freedoms, and are in violation of what Kuwait has signed and ratified in international agreements.”
Anwar Al-Rasheed has contributed effectively to the Kuwaiti human rights movement and over the past two years, has monitored all violations against the peaceful human rights activities held in Al-Erada Square.
In February 2018, he created a campaign, “Tweeting is not a crime,” that seeks to change all laws that are used to silence alternative opinions and suppress citizens, including Internet activists. He also participated in the activities of the GCHR with his long experience and hard and fruitful work.
At its 44th session, held from 15 June to 03 July 2020, the Human Rights Council considered the report of the Working Group following the Universal Periodic Review of the State of Kuwait. Recommendation No. (157-152) of the Working Group called on the Kuwaiti Government to "Amend and repeal all laws and policies that restrict freedom of opinion and expression, and protect human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers from persecution and harassment." Despite the Kuwaiti government's assertion that it was informed of all of this, it has not yet amended any of the relevant legislation.
GCHR declares its full and continuous solidarity with the prominent writer, blogger and activist, Anwar Al-Rasheed, and condemns the targeting he faces because of his peaceful human rights work. The GCHR calls on the government of Kuwait to provide him with all forms of protection and support. It should celebrate his human rights achievements rather than target him.