Kuwait: Kuwait: Four human rights observers targeted during a peaceful demonstration

04.07.14

Update: He has been released on 04 July 2014.

On July 3, 2014, at 11pm, human rights defender and member of the Kuwaiti Observatory for Human Rights, Mohammed Sahod Al-Anzi, was arrested by a group of men that working for the Special Forces. During the arrest they beat and verbally assaulted him. According to reports, he is arbitrarily detained in the office of the Criminal Investigation Department in Salmiyah.

Mohammed Al-Anzi, was monitoring a peaceful demonstration together with human rights defenders, Nawaf Al-Hendal, Hadeel Buqrais and Rana Al-Saadoun, which was launched on the same day in Nasser Al-Sabah street in solidarity with the leader of the opposition Muslim Al-Mobarak when they were confronted by the Special Forces Group.  The group abused all of them verbally and beat and arrested defender Al-Anzi and forced him into a patrol car.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) believes that the arrest of Mohammed Al-Anzi and verbal abuse of him, Nawaf Al-Hendal, Hadeel Buqrais and Rana Al-Saadoun forms part of a systematic campaign to target human rights defenders who monitor violations and obstruct their peaceful and legitimate work.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights urges authorities in Kuwait to:

1. Release Mohammed Al-Anzi immediately and without any condition as he is solely targeted due to his work in the field of human rights;

2. Ensure the physical and psychological integrity and security of Mohammed Al-Anzi while he remains in detention;

3. Immediately stop targeting human rights violations monitors, Nawaf Al-Hendal, Hadeel Buqrais and Rana Al-Saadoun while performing their peaceful and legitimates important work.

4. 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 Article 6 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters“, and to Article 12 (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.