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Kuwait: Hamad al-Naqi Sentenced 10 Years for Criticizing Neighboring Rulers
Letter by William Gomes Salem-News.com
Human Rights Ambassador William Gomes contacts Kuwaiti officials over violations of free speech law.
26-year old Hamad al-Naqi
(SALEM) - Freedom of speech isn't just some nice thought that people have about how things should be.
It means people are entitled to state their opinion; free to express themselves, even if they criticize their governments. It means people can speak and write about what they want. When governments fail to allow this fundamental aspect of human life to take place, they are violating our most basic human rights.
Kuwait has sentenced a citizen to a decade behind bars because he dared to criticize his government. Long protected by its allies Saudi Arabia and the United States, this tiny oil rich nation does not adhere to international law, and when it conducts inhumane actions against its own and is allowed to do what it pleases, it makes the whole idea of enforcing human rights into a a big fat joke and we should never accept this simply because a nation holds economic prosperity for the United States.
America is a 'Do as we say, not as we do' country; it fails to practice what it preaches. The most dangerous, fundamentalist secular countries of the world are friends of Uncle Sam's; those who force women to wear burqas, fail to allow them to drive and vote; these are the countries that are US allies.
Those Arabs truly fighting for freedom, the Palestinians, are ignored and disregarded by nations like Kuwait. It is no wonder or surprise that they also rank human rights in a similarly low priority.
June 10, 201
His Highness Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah
Diwan of His Highness The Prime Minister
P.O.Box: 2 GPO – 15015 State of Kuwait
Re: Kuwait: Hamad al-Naqi sentenced 10 Years for Criticizing Neighboring Rulers
Dear Prime Minister of Kuwait,
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding Hamad al-Naqi, 26, who was sentenced 10-year prison for criticizing the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and allegedly “insulting” the Prophet Mohammed on the social media site Twitter.
Kuwait’s Court of First Instance sentenced Hamad al-Naqi, 26, on June 5.
Al-Naqi’s lawyer, Khaled al-Shatti, told Human Rights Watch that the court convicted al-Naqi for tweets criticizing the neighboring rulers on the basis of article 15 of the National Security Law, which sets a minimum three-year sentence for “intentionally broadcasting news, statements, or false or malicious rumors … that harm the national interests of the state.” The court also convicted al-Naqi for a tweet allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed and his wife Aisha under article 111 of the Penal Code, which prohibits mocking religion and carries a maximum one-year sentence.
According to Human Rights watch, Al-Naqi pleaded not guilty to all the charges, contending that someone had hacked his Twitter account and impersonated him. His lawyer told Human Rights Watch that he would appeal his client’s conviction. Prison authorities have held al-Naqi in solitary confinement since another inmate attacked him on April 19, saying that this measure was necessary for his protection.
I want to remind you that Kuwait is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and is therefore required to protect the rights of everyone to freedom of opinion and expression.
I want to urge you immediately drop all charges against Hamad al-Naqi, or else, grant him the right to bail in accordance with fair trial standards under domestic and international law.
I respectfully remind 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 calls on States to ensure that they can carry out their activities without fear of reprisals.
I would like to draw attention to Article 6: “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: “(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.”
I look forward to your swift and adequate intervention on this case.
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem News.com
P.O. Box 5238
Salem, Oregon 97304
Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.
He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.
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