Kuwait: Kuwait: Call for the release of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli who has started a hunger strike following allegations of torture
Updated: He has been released on 8 April 2014 and the next hearing in his trial will be held on13 May 2014.
On 5 April 2014, detained Bedoon rights activist, Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli began a full hunger strike calling for his release, the dropping of all charges against him and the investigation of allegations of torture by state officials while in detention. He is due to appear in Court on 8 April 2014 charged with incitement to participate in an unlawful demonstration, damaging security vehicles and assaulting security officers.
Abdulhakim was arrested along with his brother Abulnasser Al-Fadhli on 24 February 2014. He is currently being detained at the Central Prison while his brother was released on 31 March 2014. He appeared before an investigating judge on 26 February, 3 March, 17 March, 24 March and 31 March 2014 when his detention was renewed for a further seven days. The GCHR issued previous appeals on his case on 22 February 2014 (http://gc4hr.org/news/view/589) and on 5 March 2014 following his arrest (http://gc4hr.org/news/view/599).
Since his arrest allegations of torture have emerged. At the first appearance before the investigating judge on 26 February 2014, Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli, told the court how the police had beaten him and his brother in custody. Reliable sources have since confirmed that he was beaten in the police car on the way to central security headquarters following his arrest. He was then beaten all over his body and beaten with sticks on his chest and back while he was being interrogated. The police asked him to sign a confession admitting the trumped up charges brought against him. When he refused he was violently pushed against a wall and threatened with rape. He requested to see an arrest warrant and the identification cards of the police officers interrogating him however, they refused. To date no investigations have been brought against the offending officers and it is feared that these torturous acts will be met with impunity.
The GCHR expresses serious concern for the physical and psychological well-being of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli in light of the allegations of torture that have come to light. The GCHR believes that his arrest, detention and ill-treatment are a direct result of his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights and in particular the rights of the Bedoon community in Kuwait. The GCHR calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
The GCHR calls on the authorities in Kuwait to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli;
- Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli while he remains in detention;
- Conduct a thorough, impartial and immediate investigation into the allegations of torture of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli with a view to bringing those responsible to justice and publishing the results in accordance with internationals standards;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Kuwait are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized 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 draw your attention to Article 12 (1 and 2): “(1) Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. (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.”