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Feb-26-2014 14:08printcomments

Kuwait: Ongoing Judicial Harassment and Detention of Bedoun Human Rights Defenders

Immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against and release Abdulhakim Al Fadhli

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah
Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah

(WASHINGTON, DC) - On 24 February 2014, human rights defender Mr Abdulhakim Al Fadhli, was chased by state security cars and then taken to state security headquarters, where he remains in detention. Earlier that day, human rights defenders Mr Nawaf Al Hendal and Ms Hadil Abo Qoreis were summoned via news broadcasts to appear before state security investigations service. Abdulhakim Al Fadhli had also been unofficially informed of a summons against him.

All three human rights defenders actively advocate for the rights of members of the Bedouin community in Kuwait. The term Bedouin, meaning 'without' in Arabic, refers to the community of stateless persons, native to Kuwait, who are prohibited from obtaining any official state documents including, but not limited to birth, death or marriage certificates. They constitute approximately 180,000 of Kuwait's population.

On 24 February 2014, it is reported that state security cars, while chasing Abdulhakim Al Fadhli, intentionally collided several times with his vehicle before their drivers arrested the human rights defender and placed him in detention. Pictures of his car following the chase show signs of heavy collision and significant damage. The human rights defender has thus far not been granted access to legal counsel and there are now legitimate concerns for his safety and health. The summonsing of Nawaf Al Hendal and Hadil Abo Qoreis, reportedly on charges of “inciting Bedouins in Kuwait to protest and invoke chaos”, comes in the context of recent demonstrations by the Bedouin community. The protests coincide with the commemorations of the anniversary of 2011 demonstrations, and were also instigated by the arrest of Bedouin activist Abdullah Atallah who was chased down by state security cars and arrested on 19 February 2014.

Abdulhakim Al Fadhli has been repeatedly targeted by the Kuwaiti government for his advocacy for the stateless community. In January 2013, he was arrested and sentenced to two years imprisonment for allegedly attacking a police man while carrying out his duties. He was acquitted in March 2013 and released.

Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com, William Gomes, is concerned that the above-mentioned human rights defenders are being targeted solely because of their work in defence of human rights, particularly those of the Bedoun community, in Kuwait.


Emir of the State of Kuwait
His Highness Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah
al-Diwan al-Amiri, al-Safat, Kuwait
Fax: +965 22430559
Email: amirsoffice@da.gov.kw

Your Highness,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

On 24 February 2014, human rights defender Mr Abdulhakim Al Fadhli was chased by state security cars and then taken to state security headquarters, where he remains in detention. Earlier that day, human rights defenders Mr Nawaf Al Hendal and Ms Hadil Abo Qoreis were summonsed via news broadcasts to appear before state security investigations service. Abdulhakim Al Fadhli had also been unofficially informed of a summons against him.

All three human rights defenders actively advocate for the rights of members of the Bedoun community in Kuwait. The term Bedoun, meaning 'without' in Arabic, refers to the community of stateless persons, native to Kuwait, who are prohibited from obtaining any official state documents including, but not limited to birth, death or marriage certificates. They constitute approximately 180,000 of Kuwait's population.

On 24 February 2014, it is reported that state security cars, while chasing Abdulhakim Al Fadhli, intentionally collided several times with his vehicle before their drivers arrested the human rights defender and placed him in detention. Pictures of his car following the chase show signs of heavy collision and significant damage. The human rights defender has thus far not been granted access to legal counsel and there are now legitimate concerns for his safety and health.

The summonsing of Nawaf Al Hendal and Hadil Abo Qoreis, reportedly on charges of “inciting Bedouns in Kuwait to protest and invoke chaos”, comes in the context of recent demonstrations by the Bedoun community. The protests coincide with the commemorations of the anniversary of 2011 demonstrations, and were also instigated by the arrest of Bedoun activist Abdullah Atallah who was chased down by state security cars and arrested on 19 February 2014.

Abdulhakim Al Fadhli has been repeatedly targeted by the Kuwaiti government for his advocacy for the stateless community. In January 2013 he was arrested and sentenced to two years imprisonment for allegedly attacking a police man while carrying out his duties. He was acquitted in March 2013 and released.

I am concerned that the above-mentioned human rights defenders are being targeted solely because of their work in defence of human rights, particularly those of the Bedoun community, in Kuwait.

I urge the authorities in Kuwait to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against and release Abdulhakim Al Fadhli, as the case against him is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights;

2. Immediately drop all charges against and revoke the summonses for Nawaf Al Hendal and Hadil Abo Qoreis as they are directly related to their human rights work;

3. 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.

Yours sincerely,
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
Twitter @wnicholasgomes
Email: william@williamnicholasgomes.com
williamnicholasgomes.com
- See more at: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/25204/action#sthash.87JU5BHg.dpuf

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